People in suits standing behind an umbrella while it rains COVID-19

Globalisation has helped elevate hundreds of millions of individuals in developing countries out of poverty, but the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis has brought to light some of the downsides of increased global connectivity. 

The crisis represents a distinctive resilience challenge for entrepreneurs. Although there has been considerable literature on how large businesses have navigated the pandemic, much less is known about how smaller entrepreneurial businesses can increase their resilience against external shocks.

This is an important gap. The global reach of the crisis and the severity of its economic consequences means there is an urgent need for research that identifies effective strategies that help entrepreneurs – individually and as communities – to survive, as well as prepare to recover and scale their operations once it passes.

What we're doing

We are studying business model learning processes by entrepreneurs during the COVID-19 outbreak and lockdown in Wuhan, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Manila and London.

We aim to address the urgent need to strengthen entrepreneurial resilience, as societal and economic activity adjusts to the post-outbreak world. Collaborating with Wuhan University, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP) in Bangkok, and Asia School of Business in Kuala Lumpur, we have adopted an inductive, qualitative approach to explore effective firm- and community-level responses and resilient business model practices to effect long-term adjustment of changes in an environment where social distancing is part of the new normal.

The outcomes of our research will support entrepreneurial adjustment and post-COVID-19 recovery in emerging economies, and also, inform UK policy responses.

Funder: UKRI – UK Research and Innovation

Duration: September 2020 to January 2022


  • De La Salle University, Manila
  • Mahidol University College of Management, Bangkok
  • Magic Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur

Policy outreach partners

  • Asian Development Bank, Manila
  • United Nations Economic and Social Council for Asia Pacific (UN ESCAP)