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Supporting Entrepreneurship during the Covid-19 Pandemic: A Global Study of Entrepreneurs' Resilience and Well-being

The importance of the mental well-being of the small business owners and self-employed who constitute the backbone of our economies is rarely acknowledged. When these entrepreneurs feel well, they are more persistent, productive and innovative, and their businesses perform better.

The Covid-19 pandemic threatens entrepreneurs’ mental well-being and their businesses in unprecedented ways. Understanding how they can successfully navigate the current Covid-19 crisis requires understanding their resilience - the process of adapting positively to adversity.

This includes how entrepreneurs handle the uncertainty and stress produced by this crisis to protect their mental well-being and keep their businesses alive; or potentially innovate and change their businesses to emerge even stronger.

This global study will generate new theoretical and practical insights about the resilience processes that enable entrepreneurs to navigate crises successfully. We study entrepreneurs’ and their business and personal responses to the Covid-19 pandemic in 31 countries: Australia, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, UK and USA.

We will continuously share emerging insights with entrepreneurs to enhance their well-being and resilience; and develop policy recommendations. Entrepreneurs participating in the study receive immediate personalized feedback on their resources to cope with stress. 


The coordination of this research project and the Polish and UK studies were funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 793117 (‘Positive Entrepreneurship’). The Polish study was also supported by Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Katowice, Startup City Zabrze, BusinessLink Katowice, Catholic Ministry of Entrepreneurs and Employers “Talent” and The Club of Entrepreneurial Women “Positive in Business”.

The UK study was also supported by King’s Business School, the National Enterprise Network, Westminster Business Council, Midtown Business Club, Hammersmith & Fulham Chamber of Commerce, Southwark Chamber of Commerce, Spitafields Small Business Association, Make it Ealing, Ealing Acton Business Club, StartUp Richmond, Barking and Dagenham Chamber of Commerce, Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce and Newham Chamber of Commerce.

In Australia the study was supported by the Australian Research Council funding FL160100033. In Bosnia and Herzegovina the study was supported by the Ministry of Education, Science and Youth of Sarajevo Canton. In Canada the study was supported in part by funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. In Chile the study was supported by CORFO and the Aubery Chernick Foundation. In Denmark and Italy, the study was supported and funded by the Centre for Technology Entrepreneurship, Technical University of Denmark.

In France the study was supported and funded by the LabEx Entreprendre (University of Montpellier and Montpellier Business School) (ANR-10-Labex-11-01, funded by the French government) and by the public research center Montpellier Research in Management (University of Montpellier). We would like to thank the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the department of Pyrénées Orientales which participated in setting up the French part of this survey.

In Germany the study was funded by the TransCampus grant, supported by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), TransCampus is a partnership of King’s College London and Technische Universität Dresden. In Japan the study was supported by JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number JP 20H01530. In New Zealand the study was funded by Waikato Management School, the University of Waikato, and supported by the Waikato Chamber of Commerce and the Sustainable Business Council. The Norwegian study was supported and funded by the Center for Innovation Research at the University of Stavanger Business School.

In Spain the study was co-funded by Fondo Europeo de Desarrollo Regional (FEDER) and Junta de Andalucía's Consejería de Transformación Económica, Industria, Conocimiento y Universidades, under the operational program FEDER Andalucía 2014-2020; Thematic Objective 01 - «Refuerzo de la investigación, el desarrollo tecnológico y la innovación» and Specific Objective 1.2.3. «Fomento y generación de conocimiento frontera y de conocimiento orientado a los retos de la sociedad, desarrollo de tecnologías emergentes», through reference research project (PY20_00856). Co-financing percentage FEDER 80%.

In addition, this paper is part of the Grant PID2020-114751RB-I00, funded by MCIN/AEI/10.13039/501100011033. In Sweden the study was supported by the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare (FORTE) Grant no 2017-01063 and Grant no 2019-01311.


If you are an entrepreneur, self-employed or small business owner interested in taking part in the study, please contact us at


portugal-start-up lisboa

Start-up Lisboa

Project status: Ongoing

Principal investigators

Ute Stephan

Ute Stephan

Professor of Entrepreneurship


Przemysław Zbierowski

Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research Fellow in Entrepreneurship



Pierre-Jean Hanard

PhD Student in Strategy, International Management & Entrepreneurship


  • Entrepreneurship
  • Resilience
  • Mental
  • Well-being

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