EISMEA and DG GROW recently published the SME Performance Review which provides an overview of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises’ (SMEs) performance, consideration of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and a special focus on digitalisation. The Review shines light on national policy initiatives in the EU which support the digitalisation of SMEs and provides interesting lessons and recommendations for SME digitalisation programmes. The extensive document offers a source of inspiration to the ICC network.

The Review consists of 2 parts: an annual report on European SMEs on the one hand, and a dedicated look at digitalisation and SMEs on the other hand. It provides a brief overview of European SMEs pre-pandemic performance, followed by an examination of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on European SMEs in 2020 and considers the likely performance of EU SMEs in 2021. The digitalisation of SMEs is also explored through an analysis of the performance of those active in the digital sector and the digitalisation of activities carried out by all SMEs, irrespective of sector.

The Review can offer useful guidance for ICC cities looking to provide tangible support to their local economies and for those seeking evidence-based examples of how to increase the uptake of advanced technologies. A variety of case studies on the digitalisation of specific SMEs from different EU countries are found in the Review, such as the digital transformation of a traditional Dutch family farm and the use of IT solutions to create customised healthcare treatments in Czechia. A range of national initiatives are further exemplified, offering a huge selection of inspiring ideas for the whole of the ICC network.

The SME Performance Review is one of the main tools the European Commission uses to annually monitor and assess the countries' progress in implementing the SME strategy and the Small Business Act (SBA). It can be equally utilised by the ICC network as a source of knowledge and best practices, with SMEs of all sizes represented.

The ICC encourages all to read the Review and consider how it can be used in their work to push towards digital transformation of SME ecosystems and ultimately help the COVID-19 recovery. Find the full Review here.