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DIGITAL SME Summit (anglų k.)

2023-11-13 | European Economic and Social Committee, Brussels, Belgium

After tackling the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, Europe continues to face multiple challenges, such as the energy and inflation crisis in the wake of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. The European Union is experiencing a status of permacrisis, likely to be exacerbated by more frequent revelations of climate change and new periods of turmoil on global markets, as instances such as the recent Silicon Valley Bank collapse show.

Within this fragile geopolitical, socio-economic and environmental global setting, the digital economy and the development of new, emerging digital technologies cannot be left in the hands of a few, powerful players at global level. At the 2023 DIGITAL SME Summit, the European DIGITAL SME Alliance will make the case for a new paradigm for a Digital Society fit for the 21st Century, building on the strategic
role of innovative European SMEs. For all European industrial ecosystem to embrace their digital transformation journey, Europe needs to be at the forefront of technological developments, strategically leveraging on bottom-up innovation coming from SMEs, the backbone of the European industrial base.

The DIGITAL SME Summit will bring together SMEs from all over Europe and leading voices from the policy, business, academic and civil society communities to:

  1. discuss the role of SMEs as enablers of sustainable digitalisation;
  2. showcase the digital solutions by SMEs to drive Europe in the twin transition and address some of the most pressing global issues;
  3. outline actions and policy proposals in support of a transformative digital agenda for the European Union over the next five years.

The DIGITAL SME Summit will feature a series of debates to address how digital technologies affect the defining challenges of our times. Panel discussions will focus on the link between geopolitics and digital policy; the need for up-skilling and re-skilling of the European workforce; the danger of disinformation in the digital age; the interplay between innovation and competition in digital markets; the role of digital enablers in the twin transition in Europe.

As 2023 is the European Year of Skills, a specific section of the Summit will be dedicated to examine the solutions to close the digital skills gap in the European labour market. The European Year of Skills 2023 presents an excellent opportunity to explore the importance of digital skills. Current skills mismatches and shortages, the importance of upskilling and reskilling, and the impact of new and emerging technologies on the labour market will be addressed during the event.

The Summit will also host a SMEs pitching session for the sustainable digitalisation of the energy sector, organised in partnership with the European Commission and the European Innovation Council. This matchmaking event will provide a unique opportunity for digital SMEs to connect with potential partners, suppliers, and customers in the energy sector.

It will also serve to explore the role of public-private partnerships to drive the digitalisation of several industrial ecosystems. Finally, the event will feature the first edition of the “SME Digitalisation Awards”. This award will recognize and celebrate SMEs that have made significant contributions to sustainable digitalisation (e.g., in terms of environmental and social responsibility, skills), produced innovative solutions for different industrial ecosystems and that have become role model for promoting inclusion, diversity and equity in the digital sector.

Over the last years, digital SMEs have developed solutions that show the potential of European innovation, and directly contribute to making the European digital economy more sustainable, resilient and technologically sovereign. For Europe to achieve global leadership in the digital economy, it is time to unlock the strengths of European innovators and create the conditions for an inclusive and sustainable digital society to thrive in Europe.