A Built Economy in Education, Sustainability and Regulation
Edited by Jean Bonnet, Marcus Dejardin and Antonia Madrid-Guijarro
Chapter 14: The Entrepreneurial Experience of Small and Medium Sized Firms in Times of Crisis: Empirical Evidence from Catalonia, Spain
Pere Segarra, Eleni Papaoikonomou and Xiaoni Li INTRODUCTION In this chapter, we examine how entrepreneurs of small and medium size firms (SMEs) in the Spanish region of Catalonia perceive and experience the current global economic recession. It is important to comprehend how entrepreneurs perceive the crisis, because on the basis of the perceptions they form they decide how to respond to the crisis. These insights are timely given that entrepreneurial activity is a main driver of economic recovery (Audretsch and Thurik, 2001; Morris and Lewis, 2001; Lindsey, 2011; Baptista and Preto, 2011). Van Praag and Versloot (2007), in their review of empirical research on the economic value of entrepreneurship, conclude that entrepreneurship can have a positive effect on regional employment growth in the long run, whereas Mueller (2006) argues that a higher level of entrepreneurship in a region can lead to greater economic performance and knowledge transfer.). Furthermore, SMEs play an important part in the Spanish and European competitive development because they employ most of the labour force and are responsible for the majority of the total sales volume (Mulhern, 1995). According to INE1 data for 2009, SMEs account for almost 99% of firms in Catalonia and Spain. According to the report prepared by INE for the General Directory of Policies for SMEs (2011), the contribution of SMEs to the creation of jobs is 29.6% in Spain. Therefore, they can be considered as the motor of the Spanish economy. Furthermore, the exploration of the experiences and difficulties of the entrepreneurs...
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