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Shaping Europe’s digital future
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SME strategy launched by European Commission

The EU SME Strategy for a sustainable and digital Europe was announced by Thierry Breton, European Commissioner for Internal Market, on 10 March 2020.

The EU SME Strategy for a sustainable and digital Europe (.pdf) supports European SMEs through strengthening their capacities to adapt to climate neutrality challenges, help them to reap the benefits of digitalisation, reduce the regulatory burden that SMEs face, and improve their opportunities to access finance.

Key actions from the Commission from the SME strategy

  • The Commission aims for the number of Digital Innovation Hubs, which provide opportunities for SMEs to test new technologies, access financing advice and market intelligence as well as networking opportunities, will expand to 240 from 166.
  • The EU Startup Nations Standard will see the Commission mobilise Member States to share and adopt best practices to accelerate growth of high tech SMEs and start-ups with the goal of making Europe the most attractive Start-up and Scale-up continent in the world. In particular, in 2020 the Commission will launch a political initiative calling for commitments from Member States to implement such practices at local, regional and national levels. The initiative will, for example, focus on making it easier to start-up and expand across borders, streamline visa and residency applications for third country talent, make granting of employee stock options more attractive, promote venture-building and tech transfer from universities, and increase access to finance for scaling-up.
  • Sustainability Advisors will work through the Enterprise Europe Network to provide information on solutions to sustainability challenges to SMEs.
  • An EU SME Envoy will work with SME stakeholders to signal to the Commission which EU initiatives merit cosnideration from an SME perspective. The SME envoy will contribute to the work of the Fit for Future Platform so as to identify existing legislation that is particularly burdensome for SMEs, and suggest user-friendly compliance solutions for SMEs to the Commission.
  • An SME IPO Fund, set up through InvestEU will support SMEs through and beyond the listing process. It will build on the analysis of the EU IPO market and testing with investors and stakeholders.
  • The Commission will set up digital crash courses for SME employees to become proficient in areas such as AI, cybersecurity or blockchain.
  • The Commission will launch a digital volunteers programme so that young, skilled people and experienced seniors can share their digital competence with traditional businesses.

Links to further information