Resilience of Online Entrepreneurs Against the COVID-19-induced Economic Slowdown

Resilience of Online Entrepreneurs Against the COVID-19-induced Economic Slowdown

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Mehnaz RabbaniIffat Zahan, Semab Rahman


COVID-19 is causing slowdown in all businesses, including online businesses in Bangladesh. Most small businesses are at risk of closure. Online businesses in Bangladesh are mostly run by home-based entrepreneurs, particularly women. Apart from the common challenges of disrupted supply chains and lowered demand for non-essential products, these online businesses will have to face some unique challenges. While online businesses will face trouble in the coming months to recover from this shock, there are also advantages particular to this sector. For essentials, many are reverting to online shopping to avoid going out. Customers are also spending significantly more time on social media at this time, which means exposure time to photos and live feeds is higher. Online businesses have minimal overhead expenses, making it easy to scale down temporarily. Post-COVID policies and interventions will depend on our understanding of the informal economy and its needs. Online businesses are relatively new (although significant in size) in Bangladesh. More importantly, many online businesses are run by first generation entrepreneurs with limited capital and experience, many of whom are women; and they are inspiring thousands others to start their own business. Researchers plan to conduct an online survey of at least 100 online entrepreneurs and subsequent phone interviews of 20 female entrepreneurs. The research paper will inform practitioners and policy makers on how to re-activate and sustain this sector after the crisis.

Project Outcomes of Interest

1) How resilient are online businesses to market shocks?; 2) What are specific challenges faced by female home-based entrepreneurs in the informal sector?; 3) What kind of support would be required to help these businesses to survive?


BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD)

Impact Goals

  • Build resilience and protect the financial health of families and individuals
  • Build resilient and adaptable businesses and employment opportunities
  • Improve social-safety net responses
  • Improve women’s health, safety, and economic empowerment

Project Data Collection Mode

  • CATI (Computer-assisted telephone interviewing)
  • Web

Implementing Organization

BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD)

Results Status

No Results Yet