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Women MSMEs in times of crisis: challenges and opportunities

Suhail Sultan (Faculty of Business and Economics, Birzeit University, Birzeit, Palestine)
Wasim I.M. Sultan (Hebron University, Hebron, Palestine)

Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development

ISSN: 1462-6004

Article publication date: 21 October 2020

Issue publication date: 29 October 2020




This study addresses the impact of the corona crisis on the performance of women small- to medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) and explores the adopted innovative strategies by these women to stay in their businesses.


Both quantitative and qualitative methods are used in this cross-sectional country-level survey. A representative sample of 260 Palestinian women businesses completed the questionnaire. As well, semi-structured interviews have been conducted with 15 female entrepreneurs who succeeded to survive to collect qualitative data. Frequencies, cross-tabulations and Chi-Square tests are used to analyze quantitative data and thematic analysis is used to analyze the qualitative one.


The main findings show that the corona crisis harms the performance of many women MSMEs in terms of production, turnover profit. To reduce their lost sales during the crisis, women are more likely to benefit from social media and promotions than other methods. This study highlights the innovation strategies applied by the women MSMEs who managed to survive such as, among others, cash management and digital marketing.

Practical implications

The innovation strategies could be a road map for other women struggling MSMEs businesses to re-enter businesses again.


So far, little research has focused on women MSMEs in developing countries. The identified innovation strategies will potentially help aspiring women MSMEs to survive during the economic crisis.



The authors would like to thank the Business Women Forum (BWF) for their support.


Sultan, S. and Sultan, W.I.M. (2020), "Women MSMEs in times of crisis: challenges and opportunities", Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, Vol. 27 No. 7, pp. 1069-1083.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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