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Small Business Act - SME Awareness and participation in European standardization

Date

28 Feb 2011

Sections

Trade & Society

The European Commission published earlier this week its Communication: ‘Review of the Small Business Act for Europe’. To strengthen SMEs’ competitiveness the Small Business Act for Europe (SBA) provides a comprehensive SME policy framework, promotes entrepreneurship and anchors the ‘Think Small First’ principle in law and policy making.

SME awareness and participation in European standardization

To ensure full implementation of the SBA and to respond to the challenges SMEs are
facing, the Commission is determined to continue to give priority to SMEs and to take into account their specific characteristics in its proposals and programmes.

One of the SBA’s goals is to help SMEs benefit more from the opportunities offered by the Single Market, amongst other by increasing SME awareness and participation in European standardization. This is because European Standards are a powerful means of enhancing the competitiveness of SMEs.

CEN-CENELEC SME Working Group

In light of the 58 recommendations formulated in a CEN-CENELEC SME Access Study, CEN and CENELEC established last year a strategic group, allowing closer monitoring of the actions targeting Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) in the European standardization arena, and ensure their implementation and follow-up. The new SME-Working Group (SME-WG) was born from a common will of the national members of both European Standards Organizations to continuously improve their efforts to facilitate the access of SMEs to standards work. The SME-WG aims to contribute to an increased competitiveness of European SMEs, which will enable them to strengthen the vital role they already play in the European economy.

SME initiatives include:

SME Helpdesk - The CEN-CENELEC SME Helpdesk is the one stop service point to introduce SMEs to the benefits of European standardization and to the business tools required to access the European Standardization System of CEN and CENELEC. In order better to address the questions raised to the SME Helpdesk, a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page is available. To send a question to the SME Helpdesk please email sme@cencenelec.eu.

SMEs dedicated national portals - To increase the awareness of the benefits of standardization to SMEs, CEN and CENELEC have encouraged their national members to disseminate the information regarding SMEs. The main contents of these new SME portals include national and European contact information, details of draft and published standards, information on standardization processes, links to testimonials on SME participation in standardization and links to new opportunities and projects.

Writing standards taking into account SME needs - CEN and CENELEC, supported by NORMAPME (the European Office of Crafts, Trades and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises for Standardisation) published CEN-CENELEC Guide 17. The Guide provides orientation, advice and recommendations to standard writers on how to take into account SME needs. The document addresses the issues needing to be considered during the development process of standards.

Versions of the Guide are available on the CEN-CENELEC SME website in an increasing number of languages - to make it easier for standard writers and SMEs to apply the CEN-CENELEC Guide 17, these national language versions of the guide are provided for download on the SME Web Portal (see below).

Participating in European standardization via web conferencing.

Web conferencing facilities are now offered free of charge for CEN & CENELEC technical standards bodies and other committees with the CEN-CENELEC Management Centre - webconf@cencenelec.eu.

SME Standardization Toolkit (SMEST) – Based on the recommendations and experiences from a first project, the SMEST 2 project, supported by the European Commission, will complement the specific actions being undertaken by CEN and CENELEC members to implement the SME Access Study by providing guidance and practical support. Given the continuing and growing importance of SMEs in European Standardization, CEN and CENELEC, ASI (Austria) , DIN (Germany), NEN (the Netherlands) and NORMAPME are working together in SMEST 2 to strengthen and promote the links between SMEs and standardization in terms of awareness, information and participation.

Follow CEN-CENELEC SME activities on Twitter – To be updated on the CEN and CENELEC activities regarding SMEs, follow us on Twitter @Standards4SMEs

SME Webportal – Your update on CEN and CENELEC activities with regards to SMEs can be found on the SME portal http://sme.cencenelec.eu

 

CEN-CENELEC Management Centre
SME contact:
Ms Andreea Gulacsi
Programme Manager Innovation
Tel: +34 91 432 60 56             
+34 91 432 60 56  g
E-mail: agulacsi@cencenelec.eu

Media Contact:
Christine Van Vlierden
Unit Manager Communication
Tel. +32 2 550 09 26              
+32 2 550 09 26     
E-mail: cvanvlierden@cencenelec.eu

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