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Eliciting Lessons from Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises for Resilience During and Following Complex Events: Longitudinal Data Collection (Wave 2)



Jennifer Helgeson, Juan Fung, Alfredo Roa Henriquez, Ariela Zycherman, Payam Aminpour Mohammadabadi, Claudia Nierenberg, David Butry, Donna Ramkissoon


In 2020, there were 22 natural disasters with losses exceeding $1 billion each in the US (NOAA NCEI, 2021). Economic effects on the areas impacted directly were significant; Swiss Re estimated insured losses to be $83 billion, making 2020 the fifth costliest year on record since 1970 (Swiss Re, 2020). Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in areas vulnerable to these natural disasters and other extreme weather events (EWEs) are particularly noteworthy in the context of COVID-19. As COVID-19 conditions persist, the chances are high that populations around the US and the world already have and will continue to experience natural disasters (e.g., heat waves, floods, hurricanes, fire, and drought) during the period of virus transmission and into the period of recovery. In the "SME Complex Event Resilience Survey: Wave 1" Survey of US SME operators conducted in summer 2020, 29 % indicated that they had experienced a complex event during the period March 13 to August 11, 2020 originating from natural disasters or EWEs during COVID-19. This Data Collection Instrument (DCI) Report focuses on the longitudinal research approach taken by Department of Commerce researchers to study the impact of COVID-19 on SMEs and a subset thereof which had experienced an EWE before or during COVID-19. This second wave of data collection follows on from an initial wave of data collection. The Wave 1 summary data are reported upon in Helgeson et al. (2020a, 2020b) and the Wave 1 survey methodology is reported upon in Helgeson et al. (2020c). Methods and instruments used for the Wave 2 of data collection are presented in this DCI Report. This data collection was conducted online and combines quantitative and qualitative questions to document (1) the novel resilience-based mitigation actions employed during the COVID-19 pandemic by small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), (2) challenges in implementing resilience- based mitigation actions, (3) utilization of past strategies and approaches to provide assistance to the current situation, and (4) planned resilience and recovery actions and strategies. As such, the questions are framed specifically to COVID-19 pandemic conditions; however, many are generalizable to SME operators facing concurrent events, especially those that are compound and converging in nature. Results from this data collection are to be presented in future reports and articles; initial summary information is available in Helgeson et al. (2021a).
Data Collection Instruments - 003
Report Number


Adaptive capacity, built infrastructure, business recovery, business resilience, climate, community resilience, complex event, coping, COVID-19, extreme weather events, Micro-, Small-, and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs), mitigation, pandemic, resilience planning, Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), survey instrument.


Helgeson, J. , Fung, J. , Roa Henriquez, A. , Zycherman, A. , Aminpour Mohammadabadi, P. , Nierenberg, C. , Butry, D. and Ramkissoon, D. (2021), Eliciting Lessons from Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises for Resilience During and Following Complex Events: Longitudinal Data Collection (Wave 2), Data Collection Instruments, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online],, (Accessed May 20, 2024)


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Created May 4, 2021, Updated November 29, 2022