European SMEs outline top policy priorities at IAMCP Summit in Brussels
By Per Werngren, President, IAMCP EMEA
What do European SMEs—which represent 99 percent of businesses in Europe—need in order to thrive in a competitive global market? That was the key question more than 100 SME leaders from across Europe who recently descended on Brussels discussed with policymakers at the International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners (IAMCP) EMEA Summit. Echoing the “Think Small First” principle, our answers can be found in our Call to Action: “9 Policy recommendations to promote economic growth in Europe through innovation and technology.” These are our guidelines for policymakers to help European SMEs fulfill their full potential for job creation and long-term contribution to the restoration of Europe’s competitiveness.
We are encouraged that policymakers recognise the invaluable role of SMEs. Great strides have been made to better equip SMEs to deliver solutions throughout Europe. But more must be done to enable us to operate effectively across borders, because today Europe still consists of 27 fragmented markets. Policymakers should strive to create an appropriate regulatory environment in which they work on the ‘what’ and ‘why’, while leaving it up to the market to decide on the ‘how’. This includes policies such as the cloud. As the EU prepares to unveil its European Cloud Computing Strategy later this year, we hope a framework will be put in place that encourages wide adoption. Cloud is essential to SMEs, reducing costs while increasing efficiencies at the same time. For data protection, it is important to harmonise the laws which currently vary across Member States. We do not need 27 flavors of data protection laws; we should just have one. Finally to my earlier point about the fragmented markets, establishing a true digital single market will remove different obstacles and barriers that have stood in the way to many businesses investing in Europe.
But that’s not all. Check out our video released after our EMEA Summit in Brussels to hear directly from our members on what it takes for technology SMEs to flourish in Europe!