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Doing Business Underwater: Rebecca Messham BSc, MSc (University of Hull) Supervisors: Professor Greg Bankoff (University of Hull) Dr Martina McGuinness.

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Presentation on theme: "Doing Business Underwater: Rebecca Messham BSc, MSc (University of Hull) Supervisors: Professor Greg Bankoff (University of Hull) Dr Martina McGuinness."— Presentation transcript:

1 Doing Business Underwater: Rebecca Messham BSc, MSc (University of Hull) Supervisors: Professor Greg Bankoff (University of Hull) Dr Martina McGuinness (University of Sheffield ) Flooding, Entrepreneurship and Resilience

2 Doing Business Underwater:




6 Introduction Philip Eden (2008) 153 individual cases of flooding since 1950 185,000 commercial properties in England and Wales at risk of flooding (Environment Agency 2009) SME - employs less than 250 people and has an annual turnover of less than €50 million Euros (European Commission, 2003) Hull and Sheffield home to 26,905 SMEs (Office of National Statistics (2009) Loss of a number of SMEs could damage the economy, reduce employment opportunities and dissolve the presence of social capital

7 Research Questions What kind of risk have floods posed to Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) over the last 60 years? 1.To what extent and in what ways are Small and Medium Sized Enterprises in Hull and Sheffield vulnerable to flood? 2. How has the vulnerability of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises in Hull and Sheffield changed over the past 60 years? 3. How do Small and Medium Sized Enterprises perceive flood in relation to other risks, including physical and business risks? 4. To what extent do Small and Medium Sized Enterprises experience of flood in Hull and Sheffield provide insights into evolving concepts of risk?

8 Key Terms Flood: “Temporary covering of land by water as a result of surface waters escaping from their normal confines or as a result of heavy precipitation” (Kron, 2005, p58) Vulnerability: “The characteristics of a person or group and their situation that influences their capacity to anticipate, cope with, resist and recover from the impact of a natural hazard” (Wisner et al. 2008, p11) Resilience: “The ability to bounce without breaking” and a “deliberate effort to become better able to cope with surprise” (Wildavsky, 1988, p98)

9 Methodology Three step methodology Secondary data analysis: Relevant literature, reports, newspapers, conference papers, photographs Semi-structured interviews: 38 in total – 22 in Sheffield, 16 in Hull Questionnaire: 3000 distributed – 2000 in Sheffield, 1000 in Hull – 8.4% response rate

10 The Nature of SMEs in Hull and Sheffield Yorkshire (2008): 345,805 SMEs employing 1.9 million and generating a turnover of £188,273 million Hull and Sheffield (2008): Home to 26,905 SMEs, 88.9% of businesses in Hull and 91.6% in Sheffield Disproportionately prominent in the two cities Fragile Economies Vital that SMEs are aware of the nature of hazards that can impact their business in order to improve their resilience and reduce their vulnerability

11 Hull - 1969 Sheffield - 2007 Hull - 2007 Sheffield - 1993

12 The Nature of Flooding in Hull and Sheffield Vulnerable Locations: Hull: North Bank of River Humber West of River Hull 90% built on reclaimed marshland Drainage system entirely pumped Sheffield: Seven Hills Five Rivers Cities lowest point 10 metres above sea level Vulnerable Population: Kingston upon Hull has the greatest concentration of people and properties at risk of flooding outside London (Environment Agency, 2010)

13 The Changing Nature of Flooding Causes: From natural to social construction or manufactured Physical Characteristics: Frequency, magnitude, flow dynamics Values: When floods occur they have a bigger impact An ‘Old’ or ‘New’ Risk?: Is flooding new to society or does it occur in cycles?

14 SME Perception of Flood Vulnerability








22 Flood Impacts (1) DIRECT Damage to business premises Emotional response Loss of/damage to stock Loss of productivity Loss of amenities Higher insurance premiums Loss of access to site Loss of company vehicles Closure of business for prolonged period of time Damage to company contents Staff trapped Bad smells Grief Problems with drainage General disruption and inconvenience INDIRECT Supply chain disruption Impact on social life Presenteeism Impact on customers Impact on staff Loss of reputation of business and area Potential for looting Loss of profit Heightened flood awareness Costs of recovery Uncertainty More work opportunities Unpredictable timekeeping Bankruptcy Backlog of work Cancellations Staff absence of staff leaving company Disrupted cash flow

23 Flood Impacts (2) Presenteeism: “Having said that, I don’t think that time was particularly productive” (Male, Director, Consultants, Hull) Impact on social life: “I was actually on holiday on that particular day… drove back from Cornwall that night and got back at about midnight” (Female, Manager, Pharmacy, Sheffield) Emotional crutch: “A lot of these people we did know them to start with...they are saying “oh god my house is all gone, and I’ve lost all my pictures and what can you really say to them?” (Female, Manager, Bakery, Hull)

24 Phases of Recovery Primary: “Yeah we saw it and reacted to it and got everything off the ground.” (Male, Partner, IT Company, Hull) “So they stopped it coming through the doors, but it basically came underneath and started just coming through the walls. And so at that point, once it had breached the walls they just decided that’s it, we’re going.” (Female, Owner, Market research Company, Hull) Secondary: The amount of silt, took three weeks, three to four weeks to get it all sorted out. To shovel it all out and get it all decontaminated. There was fish and all sorts.” (Male, Owner, Timber Merchant, Sheffield) Tertiary: “It was just sole destroying. It probably took about another six to eight months for us to recover” (Female, Manager, Pharmacy, Sheffield)

25 Flooding As An Opportunity “these floods are a good little money earner – it’s just knowing where to hide the money” Anonymous, Builder, Hull “People will always wants food…I’d say our takings went up 20-30% over nine months feeding the builders” Female, Bakery manager, Hull “It was all bonus work for us…an additional 150,000 turnover…we had to go down and do an insurance estimate on an asbestos removal, it was a phenomenal bit of business for two years afterwards” Male, Asbestos Contractor, Hull “He lost I would say 90% of his stock…but he made some money out of it as he sold it all off…yet claimed for it all on his insurance” Male, Cleaning Company Owner, Sheffield


27 SME Perception of Resilience


29 The Variability of Vulnerability and Resilience SOCIAL: Experience, perceptions, gender, age, ethnicity, education, mobility, experience, position within company, knowledge, workers, loyalty ECONOMIC: Turnover, accessing finance/banks, economic climate OPERATIONAL: Supplier customer experience, industrial sector, number of employees, business processes, customer base, supply chain, age of business, available resources POLITICAL: Changes in government regulations, external funding, laws, presence of social flood defence measures PHYSICAL: Flood: frequency, duration, magnitude, extent, type (pluvial, fluvial, groundwater, etc), time of day; Premises: topography, material, age, structure, size, drainage system GEOGRAPHICAL: City (Hull or Sheffield), proximity to water source, topography, type of land

30 Conclusions SMEs are important to the economic and social vitality of the cities of Hull and Sheffield due to their large number and the large amount of employment opportunities they provide. The risk of flooding in Yorkshire is set to increase dramatically over the next few decades due to the effects of climate change The floods that occur today are arguably different to those that occurred 60 years ago in terms of causes, physicality, social vulnerability and awareness SMEs vulnerable to the risk of flooding and experience a number of impacts Floods can be used as an opportunity A spectrum of resilience Vulnerability and resilience influenced by a number of interrelated variables such as geography and economics Vital that SMEs are aware of the nature of hazards that can impact their business in order to improve their resilience and reduce their vulnerability

31 Thank You Very Much For Listening Are There Any Questions?

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