Impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic on the Innovativeness of SME Enterprises in Poland: A Regional Perspective
Purpose: The aim of the study was to determine whether the Covid-19 virus pandemic had an impact on the innovativeness of SME enterprises in Poland. The author formulated the following research hypothesis: (H1) The Covid-19 pandemic had a negative impact on the innovativeness of SME enterprises. The author conducted a comparative analysis of key measures of innovation of SME enterprises in three relevant time periods: immediately before the start of the pandemic, during the pandemic, immediately after the end of the pandemic (cancellation of restrictions on the operation of enterprises). The results were aggregated at the regional level. Design/Methodology/Approach: The study is based on an exploratory-descriptive method, involving statistical analysis of collected data in selected analytical contexts. The survey was conducted in three time periods: July 2019, July 2021 and July 2023. The survey covered the same panel of enterprises: 1245 enterprises from all regions of Poland. The data was collected through an online survey. The analysis used measures of innovation effectiveness accepted in the literature and basic measures of descriptive statistics. Findings: The article shows how the Covid-19 virus pandemic has affected the innovation of SME enterprises, with particular reference to the level of: innovation activity of enterprises, innovation expenditures and profits from innovation activities. The study answers the question of whether the restrictions and changes in the operation of enterprises that were introduced during the pandemic had a stimulating or destimulating effect on innovation. Practical Implications: The research conducted can be used in two main areas/groups of stakeholders: (1) national authorities-formulation of economic policies in case of repetition of pandemic threats, formation of regional policies that support innovation, (2) SME business owners-enhancement of the efficiency of innovation activities. Originality/Value: The article presents the results of the Author's own cyclical research. The presented results have not been published and discussed scientifically before.