Gwendoline Vusumuzi Nani, Izithembisozenkosi Ndlovu


The study, which sought to find out the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic to the business operations of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the Bulawayo Metropolitan Province, and the lessons thereof, adopted the interpretive paradigm, a qualitative approach and a case study design. Data was collected from a sample of 30 purposively selected SME owners using electronic semi-structured and physically distributed questionnaires. Data were thematically analysed. The study found that the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic included restrictions on physical movements and face-to-face interaction; loss of revenue; failure to operate businesses in a disruptive environment and changes in consumption patterns. The lessons derived from the pandemic were that SMEs need to embrace technology and should be innovative and creative; the need for networking and the need to study the environment and adapt accordingly. The study thus concluded that despite the disruptions caused by the pandemics, there were lessons derived from the experiences. The implications provided by the study were that SMEs should acquire new technologies and new skills for doing business; seek guidance from mobile service providers; work in partnership with bigger companies so as to copy best practice; be creative and innovative and re-adjust strategies in order to adapt quickly. Policymakers should disseminate information to SMEs on the environmental challenges that they are likely to face.


Article visualizations:

Hit counter


pandemic, coronavirus, disruption, innovation, adjust, environment

Full Text:



Assefa, Y., Gilks, C. F., Reid, S., van de Pas, R., Dereje Gedle, G., & Van Damme, W. (2022). Analysis of the COVID-19 pandemic: lessons towards a more effective response to public health emergencies. Global Health 18, 10 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12992-022-00805-9

Badenhorst, J. A., Cant, M. C., Cronje, Gj de J. du Toit, G. S., Erasmus, B. J., Grobler, P. A., Kruger, L. P., Machado, R., Marais, A.de K., Marx, J., Strydom, J. W., & Mpofu, R. (2006). Introduction to Cooper, D. R. & Schindler, P. (2008). Business Research Methods. Singapore: McGraw-Hill. Irwin.

Banda Chitsamatanga, B. & Malinga, W. (2021). A tale of two paradoxes in response to COVID-19: Public health system and socio-economic implications of the pandemic in South Africa and Zimbabwe. Cogent Social Sciences, 7(1), 1869368

Banerjee, D., & Rai, M. (2020). Social isolation in COVID-19: The impact of loneliness. International Journal of Social Psychiatry, 66(6), 525–527.

Bartik, A. W., Bertrand, M., Cullen, Z. B., Glaeser, E. L., Luca, M., & Stanton, C. T. (2020). How are small businesses adjusting to COVID-19? Early Evidence from a Survey. NBER Working Paper No. w26989. https://www.scilit.net/article/5adc886124d6d8099dcb4c3f6062b1fe

Belitski, M., Guenther, C., Kritikos, A.S. & Thurik. R (2022). Economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on entrepreneurship and small businesses. Small Bus Econ 58, 593–609. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11187-021-00544-y

Butt, A. S. (2022). Mitigating the Spread of COVID-19: What are firms doing and what they need to do?, SAGE Open. doi: 10.1177/21582440211071098.

Chirume, E. & Kaseke, N. (2020). Impact of covid-19 on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe, International Journal of Business, Economics and Law, Vol. 23, Issue 1 (December) ISSN 2289-1552 2020

Cooper, D. R. & Schindler, P. (2008). Business Research Methods. Singapore: McGraw-Hill. Irwin.

Dimson, J., Mladenov, Z. R. Sharma, R. & Tadjeddine, K. (2020). COVID-19 and European Small and Medium-Size Enterprises: How They are Weathering the Storm, McKinsey & Company Report (2020) https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/public-and-social-sector/our-insights/covid-19-and-european-small-and-medium-size-enterprises-how-they-are-weathering-the-storm. Google Scholar

Donthu, N., & Gustafsson, A. (2020). Effects of COVID-19 on business and research. Journal of business research, 117, 284–289. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusres.2020.06.008

Eklund, M. A. (2021). The COVID-19 lessons learned for business and governance. SN Bus Econ 1, 25. https://doi.org/10.1007/s43546-020-00029-2

Engidaw E. A. (2022). Small businesses and their challenges during COVID‑19 pandemic in developing countries: in the case of Ethiopia, Journal of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (2022) 11:1, https://doi.org/10.1186/s13731-021-00191-3

Gregurec, L., Tomicic Furjan, M., Tomicik-Pupek, K. (2021). The Impact of COVID-19 on Sustainable Business Models in SMEs. Sustainability 2021, 13, 1098. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13031098.

Jayakumar, P. & Brohi, S. & Zaman, N. (2020). Top 7 Lessons Learned from COVID-19 Pandemic. 10.36227/techrxiv.12264722.v1.

Jefferson, M. (2020). COVID-19: The lessons we should have learned from existing literature. Biophysical Economics and Sustainability. 5(13). https://doi.org/10.1007/S41247-020-00079-7 Springer Nature. Switzerland AG 2020

Kumar, A., Luthra, S., Kumar Mangla, S. & Kazançoğlu, Y. (2020). COVID-19 impact on sustainable production and operations management, Sustainable Operations and Computers, Volume 1, Pages 1-7, ISSN 2666-4127, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.susoc.2020.06.001.


Mahmood P. and Sanchez Z. (2020). COVID-19: Lessons for Sustainability - European Environment. https://www.eea.europa.eu-publications-covid-19-les Accessed on 16/06/2022

Makaroun, L. K., Bachrach, R. L., & Rosland, A. M. (2020). Elder abuse in the time of COVID-19 increased risks for older adults and their caregivers. The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry: Official Journal of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry, 28 (8), 876-880.

Markovic S., Koporcic N., Arslanagic-Kalajdzic M., Kadic-Maglajlic S., Bagherzadeh M., Islam N. (2021). Business-to-business open innovation: COVID-19 lessons for small and medium-sized enterprises from emerging markets, Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Volume 170, 120883, ISSN 0040-1625, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.techfore.2021.120883. Google Scholar

Murendo, C., Manyanga, M. Mafungautsi, R. & Dube, T. (…) (2022). COVID-19 nationwide lockdown and disruptions in the food environment in Zimbabwe, https://doi.org/10.1080/23311932.2021.1945257

Podstupka, S. (2020). Real-Time Oil & Gas Industry Executive Pay Actions At-A-Glance, https://www.pearlmeyer.com/blog/real-time-oil-and-gas-industry-executive-pay-actions-at-a-glance.

Prakash Narain J., Sodani P. R., Kant L. (2021). COVID-19 Pandemic: Lessons for the Health Systems. Journal of Health Management. Vol. 23(1):74-84. doi:10.1177/0972063421994982

Pravakar, S. & Bishnoi, A. & Sahoo, P. (2020). COVID-19 and Indian Economy: Impact on Growth, Manufacturing, Trade and MSME Sector. Global Business Review. 21. 10.1177/0972150920945687.

Saunders, M., Lewis P. & Thornhill, A. (2016). Research methods for business students. 7th ed. Pearson Education Ltd.

Schmid, B., Emmanuel Raju, E. & Jensen, P. (2021). COVID-19 and business continuity - learning from the private sector and humanitarian actors in Kenya, Progress in Disaster Science, Volume 11, 100181, ISSN 2590-0617, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pdisas.2021.100181. (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2590061721000417)

Sheth, J. (2020). Impact of COVID-19 on Consumer Behaviour: Will the Old habits return or die? Journal of Business Research, 117, 280-283

Walter-Toews, D. (2020). On pandemics: deadly diseases from bubonic plague to Coronavirus. Greystone Books, Vancouver.

World Bank, 2020. World Bank Covid-19 (coronavirus) drives sub-Saharan Africa toward first recession in 25 years, Report for SSA (2020). Google Scholar

Yin, K. R. (1993). Application of Case Study Research. Sage. https://www.scirp.org

Zahra, S. A. (2020). International entrepreneurship in the post Covid world. Journal of World Business, 101143.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.46827/ejsss.v7i6.1318

Copyright (c) 2022 Gwendoline Vusumuzi Nani, Izithembisozenkosi Ndlovu

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

The research works published in this journal are free to be accessed. They can be shared (copied and redistributed in any medium or format) and\or adapted (remixed, transformed, and built upon the material for any purpose, commercially and\or not commercially) under the following terms: attribution (appropriate credit must be given indicating original authors, research work name and publication name mentioning if changes were made) and without adding additional restrictions (without restricting others from doing anything the actual license permits). Authors retain the full copyright of their published research works and cannot revoke these freedoms as long as the license terms are followed.

Copyright © 2016 - 2023. European Journal Of Social Sciences Studies (ISSN 2501-8590) is a registered trademark of Open Access Publishing Group. All rights reserved.

This journal is a serial publication uniquely identified by an International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) serial number certificate issued by Romanian National Library. All the research works are uniquely identified by a CrossRef DOI digital object identifier supplied by indexing and repository platforms. All the research works published on this journal are meeting the Open Access Publishing requirements and standards formulated by Budapest Open Access Initiative (2002), the Bethesda Statement on Open Access Publishing (2003) and  Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities (2003) and can be freely accessed, shared, modified, distributed and used in educational, commercial and non-commercial purposes under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Copyrights of the published research works are retained by authors.


Hit counter