A digital path for the emerging SMEs
The Office, October 16th 2019
Digital transformation is a well-known and much-hyped concept in today’s business environment. Activities related to innovation and technology play an essential role in enterprises growth and development, in particular to SMEs development.
This industrial revolution has strategically boosted some areas of the business, allowing small and medium-sized enterprises to grow outside their national borders. However, the overwhelming amount of information has stumped those emerging companies leaving them unprepared to approach this world.
During the Conference on October 16th at The Office, a vigorous debate shed light on the current challenges and potential benefits produced by rapid digital innovation.
Nowadays, SMEs are considering tapping into digital trends to grow further and strengthen their competitive edge as well as making use of emerging technologies to maintain their profitability. Since it is assumed that SMEs represent the backbone of the world economy, digitalisation seems to be a valuable opportunity to attract new profits and boost their competitiveness.
Therefore, the Conference welcomed shared challenges by speakers, in both EU and national levels, evaluating achievements and future strategies to help SMEs.
Overview of the challenges ahead.
Despite the many opportunities, digitalisation has somehow left SMEs unprepared and not aware of the instruments available and the latest services.
In particular, Jasmin Battista from the DG CNECT of the European Commission outlined the financial access as one of the main challenges encountered by most SMEs in digitalisation alongside with their lack of knowledge and guidelines.
Since the EU financial system relies on the bank’s investments, most SMEs face several obstacles in researches for necessary funds. The responsible of the DG Research and Innovation, Katerina Borunska, claimed that in terms of European financial assistance, there is a lot to be done.
Because of the heterogeneous pattern of SMEs, unbalanced performances among enterprises represent a further challenge encountered. This challenge was strongly agreed by the Finnish Advisor Mira-Maria Kontkanen. She outlined, in fact, two groups of enterprises in terms of performances, those traditions which survive in the digital world, and those at the top, well placed in the digital market.
As a consequence, shops, bakeries and other smallest companies are gradually losing power in the international arena; they the lack of proper guidelines and information to develop a digital strategy. This gap is also enhanced by the continuous changes in technology that dominate business thinking.
Proved results of SMEs digitalisation
Despite those challenges, the Conference also overlooked at some achievements reached by countries, in assisting their SMEs to develop a proper digital transformation. In details, speakers showed initiatives and well-grown companies that have brought together best practices and appropriate tools to support SMEs.
Germany, Poland, Portugal and Finland illustrated their successful approaches and solutions to keep SMEs involved in the digital environment. The Dutch platform METRO AG, as an example, strengthened its role in fostering companies’ digitalisation. It daily delivers tools and products to consumers focusing on their needs and concerns to keep them updated in the technological arena.
Further proof was provided by the successful Allegro, a polish platform which has built a perfect ecosystem for communications ideas to thrive. Since 1992, Head of Public Affairs Marta Mikliszanska claimed an unexpected growth of their accounts from SMEs accounts. Their goals are to provide Polish consumers with clear support at various levels, including marketing, financing, and know-how guidelines.
Portugal seems to show a similar path through its “Portugal Digital Economy Association”. President Alexandre Nilo Fonseca emphasised the fantastic growth of Portugal high-speed connectivity alongside with new products initiatives introduced for SMEs.
Several perspectives were showed during the Conference, and all speakers agreed on enshrining national competitiveness into a broader societal project, which is to bring together all Europeans and all businesses on board of the digital revolution.
At this moment, despite a technological gap between small and big enterprises each country is pursuing a familiar path in supporting their SMEs, allowing them to make the most from technological innovation.