3rd February 2021
Minister for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation, Robert Troy TD, today represents Ireland as Co-Chair of the second Roundtable meeting of the OECD’s Digital for SMEs global initiative.
The meeting is chaired by Minister Stuart Nash, the New Zealand Minister for Small Business, with attendees including Secretary General of the OECD, Ángel Gurría, and a broad group of OECD countries, business representatives, and other SME stakeholders from around the world.
Today’s Roundtable meeting is an opportunity for a wide-ranging, in-depth discussion on how to enable all SMEs to take advantage of the benefits of digitalization and discuss how this ongoing process has been shaped and accelerated by new ways of working as a result of COVID-19.
Minister Troy will also chair a thematic session on ‘SME capabilities to access fast and affordable digital infrastructure’ and facilitate contributions from government and business representatives from around the world on solutions to enhance connectivity for all businesses.
Speaking ahead of the meeting, Minister Troy said:
“As Minister with responsibility for Digital, I am very pleased to co-chair today’s OECD Roundtable meeting on SME digital transformation. SMEs are crucial to the long-term sustainability of the Irish economy, and an important element of their success over the coming years will depend on their transition to digital ways of working.
“Today is a valuable opportunity to share experiences and perspectives with Minister Nash of New Zealand, Secretary General Gurría of the OECD, and other global representatives of industry and academia on best international practice for preparing SMEs for the digital economy of the future.
“In particular, I am delighted to chair a dedicated session on ‘SME capability to access fast and affordable digital infrastructure’.This is a major challenge for governments and businesses around the world, and today’s discussion will provide valuable and timely insights into how that challenge is being approached globally. Ensuring access to high-quality internet connections for people across Ireland remains a priority for the Government. It is essential to the development of all parts our country, socially and economically, and is pivotal to the success of our SMEs, especially those in rural areas.”
Secretary General Gurría of the OECD will also be launching an OECD report entitled “The Digital Transformation of SMEs” at the Roundtable event. The report will illustrate recent trends in SME digital uptake, as well as developments in areas such as digital security, blockchain ecosystems and artificial intelligence.
Notes for Editors
The OECD Digital for SMEs Global Initiative aims to promote knowledge sharing and learning on how to enable all SMEs to make the most of the digital transformation, placing emphasis on the diverse opportunities and needs of SMEs and entrepreneurs, and on their role in an effective, inclusive and sustainable digital transition. The initiative is doing so by facilitating research collaboration among partners, including OECD member countries and private sector partners, sharing SME experiences and promoting dialogue on key thematic areas for SME digitalisation, through a number of different channels, such as high-level Roundtables, thematic workshops, policy hackathons, and digital fora, among others.
The Roundtable meetings for the Initiative take place on an annual basis, and gather representatives from governments, regulators, business, SME associations, incubators and international organisations.
At this, the second Roundtable meeting, participants are encouraged to discuss opportunities and challenges related to digitalisation and SMEs responses to COVID-19 in three sessions. Each session features an OECD government and a small or medium-sized enterprise showcasing their digitalisation experience, followed by an open discussion. These sessions are:
- SMEs moving online: digital presence, e-commerce and digital security risks
- SMEs capabilities to access fast and affordable digital infrastructure
- Digital Tools to Telework Efficiently and Increase Wellbeing
At the end of the Roundtable, the OECD presented the Programme of Work 2021-22 of the D4SME Initiative to participants for feedback.
The Roundtable will also see the launch of the OECD report “The Digital Transformation of SMEs.” Prepared under the aegis of the OECD Working Party on SMEs and Entrepreneurship (WPSMEE), the report illustrates recent trends in SME digital uptake, discusses about digital security, online platforms, blockchain ecosystems, and artificial intelligence, presents policy experiences and raises considerations to advance the SME digital policy agenda.
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