In a recently presented report “The Digital Economy and Society Index” – DESI – we can find the challenges we face in Europe when it comes to infrastructure, use and skills in ICT. If we put our focus on how the small businesses uses internet and the opportunities to be found in the Digital Economy it is actually dramatic.
The report indicates SMEs on a low percentage – but a guess is that if we check the Micro Businesses it is even worse – or to take the positive perspective – SMEs in Europe carries a “Golden Nugget” of Business Development opportunities – that just waits to be released. “e-Commerce, a missed opportunity for smaller businesses: 65% of European internet users shop online, but only 16% of SMEs sell online – and less than half of those sell online across borders (7.5%). To address this issue, the Commission presented proposals on digital contracts in December (press release) to protect consumers better who shop online and help businesses expand their online sales. The Commission will come with a legislative package in May to further boost e-commerce. It will include measures to address unjustified geo-blocking, to improve the transparency of cross-border parcel markets and to enforce EU consumer rules across borders better.” Quote from the EU-Commission press release – read it all here
As always the focus is on “DHL-parcels” sent across the borders – but the information regarding services are more limited. As we can see that not at least many start ups are setting up businesses in Digital Services (there the rules and regulations are even more difficult to understand and follow) we need to raise this in the dialogue to create an understanding in the needs of the European SME programs and funds.
This Diagram shows the position in the DESI-index for the European countries and gives us an idea about the progress. It would be very interesting to analyze these figures and understand the situation among the small enterprises. If you have any information about that on a regional, national or European level – please drop us an e-mail on firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are looking forward to all initiatives that will support the European SMEs to be more active and to get the skills required to meet the challenges and benefit from the opportunities. As 4 out of 5 new jobs are created by the SMEs in Europe – it is very important that they stay competitive on the Global Market.When we talk about “skills required” it is important to point out and to understand that it is not only technical IT skills – it is a total span of Business related IT-skills.
For some time it has been a focus on the importance of Social Media as a channel for marketing and branding of businesses. However there is a wide range of skills required to innovate new Business Models and to implement them into reality and transform ideas into a profitable business.
We are in many aspects talking about the Red Tapes that are stopping SMEs from growth and sustainability – but a guess would be that in the Digital Economy the problem will be on the Governmental side – how to “control” the online businesses and the digital products and services that are sold and consumed. A risk is that we will face a protective approach that, in that case, is going to slow down the development even more.
The Digital Entrepreneur is here – how can we support her/him – and how can we build a solid future based on the Digital Economy?
SME Academy 2017