McQuaid R & Webb A (2020) The Importance of SMEs as Innovators of Sustainable Inclusive Employment: Some Issues Resulting from Shocks to the Econ-omy Imposed by the COVID-19 Pandemic. In: Larsen C, Kipper J, Schmid A & Ricceri M (eds.) The Importance of SMEs as Innovators of Sustainable Inclusive Employment: New Evidence from Regional and Local Labour Markets. Munich, Germany: Rainer Hampp Verlag, pp. 33-45. www.hampp-Verlag.de.
This chapter briefly introduces some of the issues related to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in their roles as innovators of sustainable inclusive employment. There are multiple forms of SMEs that differ by size, reach and character, varying by industry and country. However, these enterprises are crucial to local and regional economies throughout the world, especially in terms of offering employment opportunities and contributing to economic growth.
The roles Of SMEs seem to be of great value in the context of the health crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has already altered some societal norms, caused consumer behaviour to change and negatively impacted national and regional economies. This chapter, firstly, briefly introduces key definitions and statistics related to SMEs and their socio-economic importance. Secondly, it draws attention to some of the immediately observed impacts of the health pandemic on local economies and the SMEs landscape, also suggesting the leadership opportunities and challenges such a crisis brings about.