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Meeting of the Steering Group of the OECD Digital for SMEs Global Initiative

Minister Robert Troy T.D., Minister of State for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation, today represented Ireland as Co-Chair of the meeting of the Steering Group of the OECD’s Digital for SMEs global initiative.

The meeting was chaired by Minister Stuart Nash, the New Zealand Minister for Small Business, and was also attended by the Deputy Secretary General of the OECD, Ulrik Vestergaard Knudsen, and included representatives of business, academics, and other OECD member countries.

Today’s meeting of the Steering Group discussed the activities of the Digital for SMEs Global Initiative throughout 2020, and the proposed Programme of Work for 2021-22, under the overarching theme of “SME digitalisation to build back better”. The upcoming Programme of Work proposes to organise activities around three main pillars - Analytical research; Sharing SMEs’ experiences; and Network and policy dialogue activities.

Speaking after the meeting, Minister Troy said:

“As Minister with responsibility for Digital, I was very pleased to co-chair today’s valuable meeting at OECD level, to ensure that a strong focus is kept on the importance of the digital transition for SMEs, who represent the backbone of our own economy here at home. Ireland is playing a prominent role in this OECD initiative, and it is of great benefit to discuss these shared opportunities with international partners such as Minister Nash of New Zealand, and Deputy Secretary General Knudsen of the OECD”.

“My participation in this OECD meeting is very timely, as digital was one of the central themes identified by members of the SME Taskforce as being crucial to enable the future development of our small and medium sized businesses. As Minister with responsibility for Trade Promotion, I am also very conscious of the role that digital progress will play in enabling Irish firms to connect with, and successfully grow their exports to, markets across the globe. This OECD initiative gives us a great opportunity to learn from best practice internationally in this regard.”

The next step in the OECD Digital for SMEs Initiative will be the Round Table event to be held in February 2021, which will involve a broader group of OECD countries, business representatives, and other SME stakeholders.

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 Steering Group for the Initiative gathers representatives from OECD governments, private sector partners, SME associations, and, on a rotating basis, SMEs and academic experts.  Members of the Steering Group share perspectives on global trends and policies to foster SME digitalisation, discuss key priorities and provide strategic directions to define the activities of the initiative.