In Europe, we have a long-term vision to use knowledge and innovation to drive ourselves forward. The digital revolution is not about creating virtual realities, it is about diverse companies reaching out to real global customers using digital skills
“In Europe, we have a long-term vision to use knowledge and innovation to drive ourselves forward. The digital revolution is not about creating virtual realities, it is about diverse companies reaching out to real global customers using digital skills,” said moderator Tamsin Rose, Non-Resident Fellow at Friends of Europe, at the Digital Skills conference hosted in Brussels on 24 February 2016.
The expert panel discussed how the EU can move towards digital skills acquisition and completion of the digital single market, with a focus on how to support SMEs vying to take their place in European and global markets.
“The digital revolution in Europe is not about tech companies,” said Matt Brittin, President for EMEA Business and Operations at Google. “It is about small businesses and entrepreneurs. They are the ones creating growth and job opportunities daily here in Europe.”
While institutional support for digital skills and a more cohesive single market in the EU are much needed, it is important that small businesses in Europe maintain flexibility to customer needs and market realities – their strength in comparison to multinationals.
“SMEs should have flexible models,” said Tano Lopez, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Spain-based Fleed International Student Network, “and this needs to be mirrored in our institutional frameworks as well. We need new rules to adapt to a new reality.”
Europe is still struggling to keep up with the global digital revolution and complete the yet-unfinished Digital Single Market. Moreover, the EU predicts that the lack of digital skills could lead to a shortfall of 900,000 jobs by 2020. This means that there are businesses still unable to reach their full potential because they cannot find employees with the skills they need. Clearly, if Europe is to be successful in the new digital era, it must tear down remaining obstacles to digitalisation and insist on digital training to help businesses and individuals be successful online by using the full potential of the internet.
What progress has been made in fostering digital skills in Europe? What challenges remain for business in Europe? And how is the issue of digital skills embedded in the wider context of digitalisation?
The event will also discuss Google’s pledge announced last February in Brussels to support 1 million Europeans gain critical digital skills by the end of 2016 through an investment of over €25M and in cooperation with many partners from the business, academic, and public sectors.
Senior Fellow at Friends of Europe
President for EMEA Business and Operations at Google
Director of Social Affairs at BUSINESSEUROPE
Head of Cabinet of Elżbieta Bieńkowska, EU Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs
Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Fleed International Student Network, Spain
Member of the European Parliament. Vice Chair of the European Parliament Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection
CMO at Coffeedesk. Former Vice President of Business Development for PIXERS, Poland
- By Chris Kremidas Courtney
- By Hannah Scheuermann & Birte Brecht-Drouart
- Eye on the Geopolitical Ball
- Area of Expertise
- Peace, Security & Defence
- By Ana-Maria Rufanda
Next event in person
- Area of Expertise