Sports entrepreneurship during COVID-19: Technology as an ally to maintain the competitiveness of small businesses
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AuthorGonzález-Serrano, María Huertas; Alonso Dos Santos, Manuel; Sendra-García, Javier; Calabuig Moreno, Ferran
Sports entrepreneurshipSMETechnologyStrategic orientationBusiness model adaptation
M.H. González-Serrano et al. Sports entrepreneurship during COVID-19: Technology as an ally to maintain the competitiveness of small businesses. Technological Forecasting & Social Change 187 (2023) 122256. [https://doi.org/10.1016/j.techfore.2022.122256]
The sports sector, specifically the field of personal trainer entrepreneurship, has been severely affected by the COVID-19 crisis. However, there are still few empirical studies that analyze how the actions taken before and during this crisis can affect sports entrepreneurs' performance. This research aims to analyze which combinations of sports entrepreneurs' personal characteristics and actions performed have been most and least effective in minimizing the negative impact of COVID-19 on their businesses. A validated online questionnaire was administered to personal trainer entrepreneurs from May to June 2020 before they reopened their facilities. Fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA) was performed to assess the impacts. The results show that both post-COVID measures (adaptation of the business model) and previous strategic orientation seemed essential. Specifically, high levels of sports entrepreneurs' resilience and innovation/R&D when competing against their closest competitors before the COVID-19 pandemic and the increased use of technologies (sports services digitization) during the pandemic have been essential to maintaining the performance of the sports business. Thus, improvements in the digital competencies of personal trainers' sports entrepreneurs, the devel- opment of strategic plans and activities related to innovation/R&D and process improvements are important measures to maintain the competitiveness of small sports businesses during crises.