Tallinn University of Technology

We have received a positive announcement, that the 10 most read articles in The Journal of The International Council for Small Business in 2021 included a joint article by Susanne Durst, professor at the Faculty of Economics of Tallinn University of Technology, and Thomas Henschel, a German researcher. The article focuses on the example of Estonian small businesses during the global pandemic.

TalTech professor Susanne Durst

COVID-19 caught us off guard. Thus, scientists had to make efficient decisions immediately, because the whole world expected answers, advice, and solutions from them.

In their article "COVID-19 as an accelerator for developing strong(er) businesses? Insights from Estonian small firms", the authors present their latest research on how Estonian small businesses have coped so far with the pandemic.

Authors Susanne Durst and Thomas Henschel acknowledge that COVID-19 also made one thing clear to the world – people need to (re)learn, that they can't control everything, and that crises like this require patience from everyone. However, patience is hard to find in our current world, where everyone is expected to be fast and everything is expected to happen quickly.

The article explains what kind of problems Estonian small businesses have had to face since the early spring of 2020. It focuses on the companies adapting to the new situation in a short period of time, and showing how everyone had to cooperate with each other. New activities were initiated, and existing ones were adjusted to first survive the crisis caused by unexpected and external causes, and then, to emerge even stronger.

The results of this research are primarily important for crisis management of both general and small businesses. Also, having Estonia in focus is important for several reasons.  

To begin with, as Estonia was formerly part of the Soviet Union and restored its independence in 1991, entrepreneurship is a relatively new phenomenon in the country. Secondly, many young people have left Estonia since the restoration of independence and this has had a negative impact on Estonian society and economic development, including entrepreneurship. Also, it is somewhat exceptional that many Estonian employees have been working in Finland for many years (and regularly commute between Estonia and Finland). So, there is a possibility that COVID-19 and its consequences will trigger a new wave of emigration.

Due to all that, it is important for Estonia to have as many small businesses as possible survive the pandemic. There are many scientific articles focusing on the crisis management of the so-called “old Western world”, while other regions are underrepresented. Therefore, this article definitely brings in new value.

See The Journal of the International Council for Small Business’s Top 10 articles for 2021 HERE (see Table No. 2).