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Venture resilience, criminal approaches and the welfare state: entrepreneurial decisions and opinions one year after the COVID-19 outbreak

Fabio La Rosa (Department of Law, University of Catania, Catania, Italy)
Francesca Bernini (Department of Economics and Management, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy)

Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development

ISSN: 1462-6004

Article publication date: 9 January 2023

Issue publication date: 27 February 2023




This study aims to investigate the resilience of Italian companies one year after the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak by examining the companies' choices and opinions regarding the welfare state, criminal approaches and mergers and acquisitions (M&As) during the pandemic.


The authors proposed a conceptual framework based on a combination of private vs public protection and business resilience theory and adopted a concurrent embedded mixed-method approach, using an online survey of 219 entrepreneurs.


The authors find the respondents showing high resilience to the crisis and strongly unaffected by organised crime's (OC's) predatory role; the State seems to have quickly and effectively met the financial needs of sampled Italian companies, at least in the short term.

Practical implications

Whilst welfare can be highly effective for companies to combat crime, regulators should recognise that public protection may decrease with time, leaving companies open to long-term challenges.


The authors believe that our study makes a significant contribution to the entrepreneurship literature because this is the first study to explore how entrepreneurs deal with financing problems in a context characterised by a strong impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and OC pressure.



The authors thank three anonymous reviewers for their suggestions and all entrepreneurs participating in the study.

Research Involving Human and Animal Participants: All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed consent: Participation in this survey was voluntary. Participants were only encouraged to complete the questionnaire. Anonymity and confidentiality were ensured on the questionnaire.

Conflict of interest: The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


La Rosa, F. and Bernini, F. (2023), "Venture resilience, criminal approaches and the welfare state: entrepreneurial decisions and opinions one year after the COVID-19 outbreak", Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, Vol. 30 No. 1, pp. 144-166.



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