Managing COVID-19 Challenges and Financing Schemes to Support SMEs in Albania
The COVID-19 pandemic has posed unprecedented challenges to the global economy, particularly impacting Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). This study focuses on the effects of the pandemic on SMEs in Albania, with a specific emphasis on the cities of Gjirokastër and Tirana.
The research employed a mixed-method approach, combining quantitative survey data from 52 SMEs and qualitative in-depth interviews with 15 SME owners, alongside insights from government officials and financial experts. Quantitative data were analyzed using statistical methods like regression analysis and ANOVA, while qualitative data were thematically analyzed.
Quantitative findings indicated significant revenue decreases across most SMEs, with more pronounced effects in Tirana. Financial challenges and operational disruptions were common, with larger businesses and certain sectors, like hospitality, more adversely affected. Qualitative insights revealed adaptive strategies, including digitalization and product diversification, and highlighted mixed responses to government support. The resilience of SMEs was evident, though future outlooks varied with calls for more targeted assistance.
The study underscores the profound impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Albanian SMEs, revealing both vulnerabilities and adaptabilities within this sector. The findings suggest a need for more nuanced and sector-specific support, emphasizing the importance of digital transformation and accessible financial aid. The study contributes to a deeper understanding of the pandemic's impact on SMEs and can inform policy-making and support strategies for their recovery and growth in the post-pandemic era.
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CC Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0