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ESBA Presents its "DIGITAL AGENDA FOR EUROPE: a Small Business Perspective"

12 May 2010
by ESBA -- last modified 12 May 2010

On 5 May 2010, the European Parliament adopted a report on "a new Digital Agenda for Europe:".


MEPs called on the Commission to come forward with a proposal for an ambitious digital agenda and action plan enabling Europe to progress towards an open and prosperous digital society offering all citizens economic, social and cultural opportunities. The report makes it abundantly clear that access, capacities, and e-skills for SMEs are an absolute necessity to make the Dig­ital Agenda a success.

During the ESBA annual event in the European Parliament, hosted by lead Rapporteur on the Parliament report, MEP Pilar del Castillo Vera, Tina Sommer, President of the European Small Business Alliance presented ESBA's "Digital Agenda for Europe: a Small Business Perspective", outlining 6 key obstacles for Small Business in reaping the full potential of ICT and the digital economy. These include lack of IT skills, lack of confidence in new technologies, lack of reliable and affordable internet connectivity, and an inadequate EU information policy.

The importance of SMEs in making the Digital Agenda a success was reiterated by speaker Bridget Cosgrave, Director General of DIGITALEUROPE, who stressed that 99% of an estimated 23 million enterprises in the EU are SMEs, providing around 75 million jobs. Cosgrave named four specific aspects of digital tools which will be particularly beneficial for a growing number of SMEs – access to digital tools and services on-demand via 'The cloud'; eliminating distance; virtual organisation and networked innovation. DIGITALEUROPE's vision 2020 can be found here.

The European Commission is currently in the process of finalising a Communication on a "Digital agenda for Europe", to be unveiled this spring. It will aim to exploit the potential of ICT as a major enabling technology for moving to a low-car­bon, knowledge-based and competitive economy.

ESBA is a non-party political European group, which cares for small business entrepreneurs and the self-employed and represents them through targeted EU advocacy activities. ESBA also works towards the development of strong independent advocacy and benefits groups in European countries. ESBA is one of the largest organisations based on voluntary membership in Europe. Through its direct membership, associate membership and cooperation agreements, ESBA today represents almost one million small businesses and covers 36 European countries.

ESBA - The European Small Business Alliance