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How resilient are you feeling?

How resilient are you feeling?

31 March 2021

A look ahead to NICRE’s first business survey

Every business across the UK has been challenged over the last year, writes Prof Stephen Roper. For many firms the COVID-19 pandemic has reduced sales, disrupted supply chains, and shattered finances. For others it has created new opportunities for online sales and local deliveries.

As we take steps along the road to recovery, NICRE is to ask firms about the strategies they've put in place to increase their resilience during the pandemic and explore their views on the future. The aim of the survey, which is to start from 12 April, is to improve how local and national government support rural businesses.

It's surprising, perhaps, but we have very little robust information on rural resilience and the way in which firms develop strategies for resilience. For larger firms we do have some information but for smaller firms, particularly in rural areas, we know little about how firms deal with crises and how they recover. So NICRE is conducting a large-scale survey of rural and farming businesses to explore with them how they have dealt with the COVID-19 crisis, and their plans and expectations for the future. This work demonstrates one of NICRE’s key aims to fill gaps in our current knowledge of rural enterprise and innovation by carrying our new research.

We are keen to understand how firms’ local networks of friends, business colleagues, customers and suppliers might have contributed to survival and growth. We want to investigate how firms have coped with the financial pressures that COVID-19 has brought and how financial problems or issues within businesses have impacted on families.

Contribute to developing future policy support

The NICRE survey will initially cover firms located in the North East, Midlands and South West areas of England with businesses contacted at random by independent market research agency OMB Research. Alongside the survey we also plan a series of case studies in which we will talk to individual businesses in more detail.

We would be very interested in talking to you about how you and your business have coped during the pandemic, the challenges you have faced, and how government and local agencies could have supported you better. This project is your opportunity through NICRE to contribute to developing future policy support for businesses in rural areas.

If you are interested in giving your views please contact me at Results from the survey will be available in the autumn so please also let us know if you would like to receive a summary of the key findings.

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