SBS data economy conference highlights importance of data access for SMEs

SBS data economy conference highlights importance of data access for SMEs

SBS data economy conference highlights importance of data access for SMEs

Brussels, 1 October 2020 – During its annual conference, Small Business Standards (SBS), the association representing European small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in standardisation, stressed the need to ensure the legal and standards framework enabling smaller players, in particular SMEs, to benefit from the data economy. 

In February, the European Commission published a European Data Strategy. The main objectives of the strategy are to set up European Data Spaces, the creation of a single market for data and the development of a secure and dynamic data economy. The potential for innovation and growth that the data economy can offer to SMEs is significant as SMEs have the advantage of being flexible and can quickly react to market changes. Nevertheless, they also face a series of challenges to be able to ripe the full potential of the data economy.

SBS annual conference, which was held virtually this Tuesday, addressed the current challenges and opportunities of the data economy for SMEs. The key issue for SMEs is access to data which is also crucial for the further development of technologies such as artificial intelligence or machine learning.

One of the main conclusions was that standards are essential to unlock the full potential of the data economy. Standardisation is a tool to enhance data sharing, interoperability and the portability of data. The importance of open standards was also highlighted by the speakers. It was pointed out that big companies too often try to impose their own standards to secure a dominant position in the market.

Another element that emerged from the discussions was the importance of developing trust if we want to build a solid data economy. In this regard, cybersecurity and privacy go hand in hand with data access. Regarding future cybersecurity schemes to be developed by ENISA, the need to consider SMEs when developing them was also highlighted.

The event was closed by SBS Director Maitane Olabarria who stated: “Both regulations and standards play an important role in setting the foundations of a fair data economy. The biggest challenge is to make the data economy work for all: consumers, small and big companies. The participation of SMEs in the development of standards providing the technical foundations of the data economy is key to achieve this.” She added that this is where “SBS plays an important role by raising awareness, disseminating relevant information and enabling SME experts to actively participate in standards drafting. It is also important to provide incentives and funding to facilitate their participation.”

The findings identified during the conference, which featured stakeholders from diverse business sectors, policy makers and consumers, are in line with SBS’ position paper on the data economy published in June this year.


Views and opinions expressed are those of Small Business Standards (SBS) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or EFTA. Neither the European Union nor EFTA can be held responsible for them.