The Guest Blog

SMEs help each other grow

Guest blog post by Thomas Myrup Kristensen, EU Affairs Director, Facebook.

For small businesses across Europe, being connected matters. European SMEs are depending on other small businesses to openly share what’s working – and what’s not. With SMEs being key to the economy, helping businesses share best practices is a key way to boost economic growth and build a successful digital economy in Europe.

Success stories

There many fascinating success stories all across Europe of small businesses that have connected with their audience online and have flourished as a result. These are stories worth sharing; inspiration for all of us who support the EU’s digital single market strategy.

Take Germany’s Brooklyn Soap Company. It was set up in 2012 by three friends to develop and sell modern, timely and organic grooming products. Facebook meant they could build a distinct brand and focus on the internet as the primary means of reaching their customers.

Today, it’s shipping to 25 countries around the globe, including to Spain, Portugal and the USA. And they have more than 35% of their customers come from abroad.

Another example is Velesca, a small Italian shoemaker. With a motto ‘Quality First’, Enrico Casati and his business partner Jacopo, founded the company in 2013. The company only sources the best materials and puts craftsmanship back at the center of the equation. The Internet has now allowed the company to start selling abroad – offering its unique products to an international audience as well as accruing more than €1 million in turnover.

Social media has proved to be a great source of new customers to Velesca, helping to promote the brand in new countries. While Velesca initially started out as a pure e-commerce business, their incredible results have enabled the company to open physical stores and plan on more expansion.

Businesses Learn From Each Other

The European Commission supports SMEs with their digital transformation through a number of policies and initiatives under the Digital Single Market.

But tech companies and online platforms also have an important part to play.

These SME success stories – and many more like them – are ones we all need to hear much more of. Because these experiences can help others to also succeed.

When we conducted our latest Future of Business survey – together with the OECD and the World Bank – we found that small businesses are building communities by teaching and learning from each other. In fact, 42% of businesses told us that learning from each other is one of the primary ways they learn how to run their business in a mobile economy, coming second only to online searches (64%).

For time-strapped small business owners, who often act as the CEO, the customer service team, and everything in between, finding the right ingredients for success isn’t easy. So, we’re excited to see that businesses are turning to each other to learn. We believe that the experience of starting and running a business makes these entrepreneurs uniquely positioned to teach others about what drives success.

Providing companies with the tools and platforms to connect with each other and facilitate ways for information sharing and connecting with customers is vital for European SMEs, and ultimately, for the European economy.

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