Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of Europe’s economy. They represent 99% of all businesses in the EU. In the past five years, they have created around 85% of new jobs and provided two-thirds of the total private sector employment in the EU.
SMEs are key to ensuring economic growth, innovation, job creation, and social integration in the EU. The impact of COVID19 is severely affecting the overall EU economy and very specifically SMEs. It is our job to support their growth and stability.
While most people relate blockchain to large companies, blockchain also opens new opportunities to SMEs in every sector to solve existing challenges and enable them to optimize their business and develop new business models.
But, if SMEs are struggling to survive, is this the right moment to talk about digitalization? What is the role of technologies such as blockchain in this critical moment?
About SMEs and COVID-19
45% of Alastria´s Blockchain Ecosystem members are SMEs. This group has given a lot of thought to the impact of Blockchain on SMEs and on how Blockchain could contribute to fight against COVID-19 and diminish the economic impact of this pandemia.
Blockchain is the technology of trust and collaboration. It enables trustless relationships and makes it possible to automatize processes and improve multiparty businesses. We believe it is a key technology for the EU economic recovery.
This is why Blockchers program continues to move forward! Our objective is to facilitate the transfer of blockchain technology to SMEs. The companies selected will have access to the first tranche of European financial aid and will be able to participate in an ambitious training and support program. Alastria will participate in this phase facilitating technical knowledge and the use of the Alastria network.
How will Blockchers support the use of Blockchain for the post COVID-19 times?
- We ensure innovation through transformative technologies like blockchain is not left behind.
- SMEs EFFICIENCY. We contribute to the scale up of blockchain solutions that will open new possibilities for SMEs to be more efficient.
- NEW BUSINESS MODELS. We foster the creation of new business models based on blockchain technology.
- ANALYSIS AND POLICY MAKING. We contribute to analyse current blockchain use cases and develop policy recomendations that help shaping the appropriate regulatory environment.
Fostering Blockchain solutions for SMEs.
Blockchers has just finalised its second open call. We have recieved 111 requests in different sectors such as health, food and retail, energy, industry 4.5, legal and compliance, mobility and transport and others. We are admired by the number of innovative ideas presented by these technological companies that are specifically addressed to SMEs.
The companies selected to participate in the program will receive equity free funding and a large number of strategic advantages.
Blockchers will have access to and participate in Alastria Blockchain Ecosystem. They will be able to be nodes and develop their solutions on Alastria. This ensures an EU compliant environment and no need to spend gas for the development or the use of their blockchain applications. They will receive technical support, technical and business training as well as coaching by Alastria, Zabala, Innomine and FSBC.
Alastria´s SMEs program Link2chain connects startups to investors and other partners/stakeholders. Through this initiative, the companies selected by Blockchers are given the chance to meet with relevant other parties and pitch in important Conferences such as the Mobile World Congress, Digital Enterprise Summit, Forinvest, Foro Transfiere or Startup Olé, etc.
During these critical times having access to a strong ecosystem is particularly important. Beyond its 540+ members, Alastria has developed a broad network and offers constant activities to foster relationships among them. It has created different working structures to provide smart impulse to any initiative. Committees work on specific subjects such as legal, technical, standards, knowledge transfer and research, etc. Sector meetings aim at bringing together those members that work for a specific industry or sector. Regional meetups help communities in specific areas to get together and identify opportunities taking all relevant stakeholders into account.
Educating SMEs on the use of Blockchchain
We need “traditional” SMEs to know that Blockchain offers an opportunity for them to increase their efficiency, reduce costs or even create new business models. Blockchers consortium is working on the education and sensitization on the usefulness of Blockchain Technology.
Connecting experts for knowledge development and transfer
Beyond, it also fosters a deeper knowledge and analysis of the still open issues. In this respect, the ongoing analysis of use cases is essential to base the analysis on the current business reality. The creation of an expert’s database will ensure the dissemination of the Blockchers findings among the research and experts’ community.
Developing Policy Recommendations
Finally, SMEs operate in a regulated environment. That is why the Blockchers Consortium is deemed to provide policy recommendations to the EU Commission based on the analysis of a broad range of use case. This being a collaborative effort, everyone can contribute.
SMEs are facing turbulent times. Blockchers is decided to continue strongly supporting the digitalization of EU SMEs as key players of the European Economy. We are convinced that Blockchain can be a key technology to help the EU economy during the post COVID-19 crisis.