Small and Medium Enterprises in the Upper Nitra region - Scope and challenges in a socially sensitive, low-carbon industrial transition
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The political decision to phase out coal mining in Upper Nitra has been made and discussion is now focused on policies, activities and steps in the transition. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are seen to be the key stakeholder in the process.1 Although the regional position of the mining industry has been steadily declining, it remains the economic backbone of the region. Mechanical calculations would tell us that immediate total closure of the HBP coalmine would most likely increase the regional unemployment rate in the Prievidza district from the current 4.51% (October 2019) to an estimated range of 8–10%, depending on the effects of indirect employment from coal mining. SMEs and entrepreneurship in general are seen as being key to ensuring economic growth, innovation, job creation, and social integration in Slovakia. The sector plays, and will play, a crucial role in the transformation of the region of Upper Nitra after coal mining. The SME segment was identified as a challenge and, at the same time, an opportunity in addressing adverse effects affiliated with the transition.
The main goal of this report is to conduct an in-depth analysis of the SME sector in the Upper Nitra region and, through the collection and interpretation of quantitative and qualitative data, provide additional data and information for shaping economic and social policy, planning and programming utilisation of the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF), as well as supporting the implementation of the Action Plan for Transformation of Coal Mining Region Upper Nitra.