Change and Crisis Management of Microenterprises: The Case of Taiwan’s Erlin Wineries
Taiwan’s joining the WTO in 2001 has brought a wide and deep impact on the local economy. With the liberalization of private productions of wine and liquor, central part of Taiwan has been growing to a popular destination for local produced wine tasting and tourism. This paper takes Erlin, a little town located in Changhua County, as an example to demonstrate how Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in Taiwan respond to the challenges of the external environmental changes. This paper consists of three parts. First, we update the research of Chen and Kingsbury (2019), which employed the Triple Helix (TH) and Innovation systems (IS) as principal frameworks to study the industry-government-university interaction and examine the development process in the Erlin winery cluster. Second, we report the impact from Covd-19 and government responses in Taiwan (Wang et al. 2020). With worldwide economy suffering from the scourge of the pandemics, many small businesses have been dealt with serious blow due to the sudden shrinkage of travelling and the ban of large gathering (Alekseev et al., 2020; Bloom et al., 2021). Although with waves of economic stimulus and support programs, including loans and assistance to pandemic–hit enterprises, and consumer voucher program (February and October, 2020), there is a disparate impact on industries. While some gains such as hi-tech industry, some fare badly, particularly for the hospitality industry. Third, to investigate how Erlin’s wineries manage the crisis, we interview Erlin’s eight wineries, which are mainly family-run small businesses. By focusing on five thematic sets of questions covering business operations, business finances, the interaction of business and household responsibilities, business employees, and survival strategies, we analyze how these wineries grapple with the shock from pandemics individually and collectively. We finalize to discuss strategies for strengthening resilience for Erlin wineries.