Small businesses and their vulnerability to flooding: Some unique insights on measures of resilience

Bingunath Ingirige

Global Disaster Resilience Centre (GDRC), School of Art Design & Architecture, University of Huddersfield, UK

Gayan Wedawatta

School of Engineering and Applied Science, Aston University, UK

Small businesses play a vital role in economic development in terms of generating employment and turnover among a whole range of economic contributions. They also contribute to the societal aspects including social cohesiveness and vibrancy of local communities; thus making vital socio-economic contributions. Although SMEs are widespread in many industry sectors, their vulnerability to many challenges remains high. For instance, research has found that SMEs suffer the most in times of crisis and are the least prepared of all organisations. Given the significant impacts suffered by flood affected small businesses during the recent years, the necessity for increasing their resilience by implementing both structural and non-structural measures is being increasingly highlighted. Whilst structural property-level measures provide both resistance and resilience capacities to properties of small businesses, the soft non-structural measures, which are often under valued, provide the resilience capacities to their business operations. Whilst various soft measures are available and have been prescribed, what is appropriate for individual small businesses depend on a range of factors. This is specially the case because of the highly heterogeneous nature of the small business sector. This paper argues that on the whole softer measures of resilience have the potential to be more strategically driven and that small businesses could add value to their entity in terms of long-term sustainability and growth if implementing measures of resilience is considered in line with the nature of the business.

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2. Diganta Das