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Changes in the Digital Single Market creates opportunities for SMEs

Written by Emma Hunt on 12 April 2018

The opportunity within the digital single market is great for SMEs, particularly with GDPR coming into force.

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Digital single market

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New opportunities within the Digital Single Market

The Digital Single Market could contribute €415 billion to the European economy, boosting jobs, growth, competition, investment and innovation. It can expand markets, offering better and more cost-effective services, transform public services and create new jobs. It can create opportunities for new start-ups and allow companies to grow and innovate in a market of over 500 million people.


Small and medium enterprises (SME) contribute 47% of revenue to the UK economy. However, at the moment only one in five SMEs are exporters and research suggests that between 9 and 12% of non-exporting firms within the UK could become exporters. The digital age has assisted companies and has encouraged SMEs to trade internationally, but there is room for improvement.  


The Digital Catapult states that, if the full potential of digital technology was realised, it could add £10.5bn per year to total output between now and 2020 in the UK. The digital manufacturing sector alone provided 2.6m jobs in the UK in 2015. There’s plenty of opportunity within this scope for SMEs willing to innovate and fulfill the gaps in the market. 


The rise of the internet means that new regulations need to be formulated to protect the identity of online users. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into effect from 25th May 2018.  It’s important that SMEs know what this change means to their business and how to prepare for it, but also be aware of the opportunities that arise as a result. It’s also important to be aware of any tools that have been (or are being) designed to minimise the risks to businesses of all sizes, which creates opportunities to SMEs within the digital space.


The three pillars


The Digital Single Market is made up of three pillars, which are important to note because they interlink with GDPR and reveal areas for potential product innovation. The European Commission’s strategy says the Digital Single Market will cover:

  1. Access: better access for consumers and businesses to digital goods and services across Europe;
  2. Environment: creating the right conditions and a level playing field for digital networks and innovative services to flourish;
  3. Economy & Society: maximising the growth potential of the digital economy.


As a result the opportunity within the digital single market is great for SMEs.  If you have a product which can complement the European Commission’s three pillars, chances are there’s great scope for growth.


How can we help you?


The Enterprise Europe Network can help you find trusted associates overseas through our partnering database. We hold information about thousands of companies which are looking for partners across all sectors, so if you are looking to enter new markets and find international partners the chances are we can help, just get in touch. 


We’re also co-organising an event where you can meet French counterparts. You can set up meetings to discuss potential collaboration, develop innovations and explore business opportunities. Find out more about these meetings here.