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Economic Impact of COVID and Pathway to Business Recovery

This project aims to determine the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had upon the Lancashire economy and evaluate the potential for policy interventions focused at supporting economic recovery.

Since Spring 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic started, the impact on businesses and employees has been assessed via both quantitative and qualitative research as part of the Phoenix Research Project, run by LIEBR in collaboration with the Centre for SME Development and the iROWE.

The quantitative element consists of data collection from Small and Medium Enterprises via an on-line survey entitled: 'Knowledge is Power - Business and the New Unknown". Further surveys are enhancing our data collection, such as the 2021 'Happy at Work' employee survey into job satisfaction and flexible working in the shadow of COVID-19.

Qualitative research encompasses regular interviews with SMEs to help understand the micro and macro impact of the pandemic and how to mitigate future recessionary shocks.


The Phoenix research has already provided robust evidence to feed in to a number of policy and practice-based activities including: Parliamentary Select Committees, the United Nation’s response to supporting SMEs through disasters such as COVID-19, State of the Nation work in the Creative Sector, and informing future business support for SMEs.

Reginal Studies Association Conference Presentation (2021) 'I’m a pin ball wizard: Understanding the rollercoaster ride and impact of COVID-19 on SMEs in the Northwest of England'. Conference website 

Further information

For more information please contact Alina Petrescu