Social Enterprises and COVID-19: Navigating between Difficulty and Resilience

The spread of COVID-19 and the consequent restrictive measures that became necessary in the first months of 2020 hit Italy hard. With this research, summarised here and published in the IV Iris Network report on social enterprises in Italy, the authors investigate COVID-19’s impact on social enterprises, the behaviours of these enterprises and the strategies they used to cope with the consequences of the health crisis. A qualitative survey was conducted in the second half of 2020 to probe the research questions. The results are based on two data sources: (a) the Resilience Stories database, a collection of 118 experiences of third sector organisations, and (b) 53 in-depth interviews with social enterprises and managers of third sector organisations, as well as interviews with national and regional policymakers. Both investigations suggested that during the first wave of the pandemic, social enterprises and other third sector organisations acted resiliently, engaging in creative rethinking of their activities and services and becoming even stronger reference points for the community.

Download PDF
Carlo Borzaga, Giulia Tallarini (2021). Social Enterprises and COVID-19: Navigating between Difficulty and Resilience, Journal of Entrepreneurial and Organizational Diversity, 10(1): 73-83. DOI: