How Can SMEs Access the European Digital Market?

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

DigitalTechnological revolutions are a great opportunity and a great challenge for companies.  For example, the progress of the last twenty years in the digital sector not only has created one new extremely wide market of its own but has also deeply influenced the technologies of well-affirmed products and services.

This digital revolution represents one of the greatest opportunity for SMEs, new and old. New firms are created everyday to respond to the needs of the digital market while older business have to innovate constantly to stay relevant and gain new market shares. This process is highly rewarding but also full of pitfalls that can take companies out of the market. In the EU, the situation is made worse by the fragmentation of the digital market and by a shortage of personnel with expertise in information technology.

For SMEs to thrive in the quickly evolving digital market, they need to be supported by having access to training, to experts and to an infrastructure adequately supporting their trade. The EU has in the past helped SMEs become part of the digital value chain by sponsoring six demonstration actions that showed how  information technologies can be applied profitably to existing sectors. These pilot models have also shown what conditions the digital market needs to fulfil to allow SMEs to benefit from it.

The European Union’s Digital Agenda needs to put in practice some key points that would bring about a digital market easily accessible for SMEs:

  • To make frequently available ultra high-speed broadband;
  • To encourage cross-border trade by decreasing extra costs (like shipping) and increase certainty of delivery;
  • To develop a Europe-wide regulatory framework for business in the digital sector;
  • To boost digital skills in the labour market by providing more access to ICT professional training;

Delivering on this digital ‘to-do’ list is paramount if we want European SMEs to reap the potential of the digital single market to perform better, be competitive and create new jobs.

There are also other ways to access the Single Market, like the mobility of SMEs staff across Europe. If you want to tell us what you think about the latter, take our survey on an Erasmus-like exchange plan for SMEs staff in Europe here:



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