Original Research

Business response to COVID-19 impact: Effectiveness analysis in South Africa

Godfred Anakpo, Syden Mishi
The Southern African Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management | Vol 13, No 1 | a397 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajesbm.v13i1.397 | © 2021 Godfred Anakpo, Syden Mishi | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 19 January 2021 | Published: 31 May 2021

About the author(s)

Godfred Anakpo, Department of Economics, Faculty of Business and Economic Sciences, Nelson Mandela University, Port Elizabeth, South Africa
Syden Mishi, Department of Economics, Faculty of Business and Economic Sciences, Nelson Mandela University, Port Elizabeth, South Africa


Background: Following the outbreak of Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), many businesses have put out measures to counter the impact of the outbreak and its related reactions from economic actors (individuals, authorities and other businesses) on their business operations. However, nearly no empirical studies or reports have been carried out to investigate the effectiveness of those measures.

Aim: This study aimed at examining the effectiveness of business response measures to COVID-19 impact on business outcome.

Setting: This study focused on businesses that are value-added tax (VAT) registered.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey design was used. The authors applied logistic regression technique to analyse the effectiveness of business response measures on business outcome.

Results: The authors found evidence that business responses such as virtual connection, innovative e-commerce and increasing working hours are more effective business responses, whilst decreasing work hours, laying off workers temporarily and ordinary e-commerce are less effective measures against the impact of the outbreak. Furthermore, business characteristics such as industry type (e.g. ‘agriculture, hunting, forestry and fishing’ and ‘electricity, gas and water supply’) are more resilient to COVID-19 shock, whilst pure export market and small businesses, secondary and tertiary, are significantly less resilient.

Conclusions: Firstly, the study shows that some business responses are more effective in remediating the adverse impact of COVID-19 and therefore recommends policy intervention and industrial actions to promote them. Secondly, it is also recommended that financial bailout and/or Internet infrastructure and domestic support for small and export businesses could make them more resilient to the adverse impact of the outbreak.


business response; COVID-19 impact; outbreak; effectiveness analysis; South Africa.


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