Tag Archive: SME

  1. Eurostars calls for projects

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    Source: Eureka

    Eurostars is part of the European Partnership on Innovative SMEs. The partnership is jointly funded by the European Union under Horizon Europe.

    Eurostars serves as a funding instrument specifically designed to support innovative SMEs and project partners (large corporations, universities, research institutions, and various other entities) by financially supporting collaborative international R&D and innovation projects. Participating entities gain access to public funding for diverse collaborative R&D endeavours spanning all sectors.

    For a successful application within the Eurostars framework, it’s essential to:

    1. Have a clearly defined project concept.
    2. Collaborate internationally, sharing expertise.
    3. Develop products, processes, or services with strong potential for commercialisation.

    Innovative SMEs interested in learning more are welcome to attend an interactive webinar hosted on 11 January 10.30 CET, where there will an opportunity to ask any questions. Register for the webinar here.

    The application for R&D and innovation projects is open to 37 countries and can be submitted between January 12, 2024, and March 14, 2024, at 14:00 CET (Brussels time) via the dedicated project platform at myeurekaproject.org. While an innovative SME should lead the project consortium, other entities such as large companies, universities, and research organizations are welcome to be part of the consortium.

  2. SBS-Survey to identify key areas of standardisation for SMEs

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    SBS launched a study at the end of 2020 to identify key areas of standardisation for SMEs spanning the next five years. Both European and international standards cover an extremely broad range of goods and services, and the number of standards being developed or revised is growing every year. The study will assist SBS in focussing its activities on standardisation areas that have been identified as especially relevant and strategic from the SME perspective.

    As a part of this effort, SBS has developed a questionnaire to be completed by SMEs to assist in prioritising sectors and topics of particular SME relevance. The deadline for submission of the questionnaire is 15 July 2021. The questionnaire is available in Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Swedish here

  3. Launch of the SME Compatibility Test for Standards

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    In October, SBS has launched the SME Compatibility Test for Standards.

    This online test, accessible from the SBS website, can be used by any standard maker who wishes to assess the SME-compatibility of a standard. The test is the starting point for possible improvements to a standard if it appears to be unsuited to smaller businesses.
    Try it out to test a standard!
    Do you want to know more about the test? Watch the 10-10 webinar organised together with CEN and CENELEC on the participation of SMEs in standardisation.

    Photo by Kristin Wilson on Unsplash

  4. ICT standards for access to data: key to innovation and to a circular economy

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    If Europe wants to achieve its climate and economic goals, the digital sector has to contribute and embrace sustainability in all its facets: circular economy models for hardware, climate-neutral CPU models and server centres, and software advancements to reduce energy consumption, to name but  a few. By enhancing repairability and third-party maintenance, the life cycle of products could be extended, but this would not be entirely possible without third-party access to data. Only if independent repair and maintenance companies have access to the products’ data can we have a competitive secondary market, where many SMEs can thrive and drive economic growth and employment, consumers spend less and product life-cycles can be extended. Read more

    Photo by Ilya Pavlov on Unsplash

  5. LEVA-EU Supports SBS Call on UK to keep EU standards after Brexit

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    Brussels, 14 September 2020 – As talks between the UK and the EU reach a decisive point, Small Business Standards (SBS), the association representing European Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in standardisation, has published a position paper stressing the importance of standardisation and conformity assessment in relation to trade and the future UK-EU relationship. LEVA-EU fully supports SBS’s on the UK.

    Standards and conformity assessment procedures play an essential role in trade. They can facilitate market access by reducing trade barriers and transaction costs, or in the case of diverging standards and conformity assessment procedures, create technical obstacles and impose additional testing and certification. Standardisation and conformity assessment are thus key elements that need to be carefully addressed in the future UK-EU relationship.

    Today 95% of British standards are identical to the international and European ones. If the UK were to depart from the European standardisation system and develop its own solutions, it would be particularly costly for SMEs across both sides of the channel. Standards are widely used by SMEs to assess, test, trade and produce compatible products within tightly integrated value chains.

    According to the position paper published by SBS, future cooperation on standardisation between the UK and the EU should be based on the key principles of European legislation including the transparency of processes, facilitation of stakeholder participation, access to information and draft standards. The UK should also keep its commitment to the single standard model whereby one single standard is in use across the EU and the UK on any given issue.

    The mutual acceptance of test results and certificates is also important for SMEs for which paying twice for the same test can be prohibitive. Mutual recognition should be based on accreditation and relevant international standards. The position paper also highlights the need to keep a level playing field to prevent the creation of backdoors to import goods from third countries into the EU.

    The position paper can be consulted through the following link. 

  6. LEVA-EU to champion better rules for manufacturers as board member is appointed as SBS-expert

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    Trade association LEVA-EU, the sole voice for the light electric vehicle sector, is announcing the appointment of one of its board members, cycling industry veteran Eddie Eccleston, as Small Business Standards (SBS) expert. SBS is mandated by the European Commission to watch over SME-interests in European standardisation through the appointment of dedicated experts. In his position as SBS-expert, Eddie will help drive better rules for LEV manufacturers operating in the European Union.

     LEVA-EU represents a wide range of LEV manufacturers in the EU, Norway, Switzerland, China and Korea, a large number of which are small businesses active in the European e-bike sector. Eddie Eccleston comments; “It is brilliant for LEVA-EU to gain a stronger voice through SBS as this is a key organisation which can help drive better rules and regulations for the LEV sector, which is not well understood always at EU level.” He continued: “The coronavirus crisis is accelerating the use of LEVs as a safe, alternative, green and healthy form of travel. However, legislation must keep up with the sector and there are serious issues where the rules are not fit for purpose for LEVs and they need resolving urgently.

    Eddie’s appointment comes as LEVA-EU campaigns among other things for the exclusion of e-cargo bikes from legislation that it says is stifling industries that rely on them. LEVA-EU has already written to the European Commission calling for urgent legislative change for LEVs centering on the technical legislation for L-category vehicles – mopeds and motorcycles.

    The European Council and Parliament decided in 2013 to only exclude electric bicycles with pedal assistance up to 25 km/h and 250 W from this L-category in Regulation 168/2013. All other electric bicycles are included in technical legislation that was originally written for internal combustion engine mopeds and motorcycles, leaving manufacturers forced to navigate complicated and costly procedures. E-cargo bike manufacturers currently limit their vehicles to 250W to avoid the regulation and the ensuing type approval.

    Eddie said: “This is a big issue I have already raised with SBS and we want as much input from LEV manufacturers as possible,” he said. “The 250W power limit, which e-cargo bike manufacturers must adhere to to stay out of type approval, is clearly insufficient in view of the increasing weight of the loads and for hilly areas. At the same time, European cities are banning cars, vans and trucks, and e-cargo bikes are being seen as a brilliant alternative. For this reason, and for e-cargo bike manufacturers to really thrive, it is essential that these types of vehicles are more widely excluded from the legislation so that the industry can reach its full potential.

    In his position of SBS-expert Eddie will be watching over the specific interests of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in CEN TC 333 – cycles. There he is looking to ensure that standards do not hold any requirements, which are too difficult or too complicated for SMEs to comply with.

    Every day, LEVA-EU receives information requests from small businesses that are totally unable to grasp the EU rules and regulations that apply to their products,” he said. “It is our hope that having a voice through SBS will considerably contribute to both simplifying the standards and making them more effective, through a better harmonisation under the different relevant directives. In particular we want to ensure that the future standard for e-cargo bikes is tailored to small businesses.

    Eddie said he is now in the process of setting up a mirror group for businesses in the E-Bike and E-Cargobike sector to input into his work within CEN TC 33. Eddie is working in WG5 – EPACs and in WG9 – (E)Cargobikes.

    This mirror group is not only meant to share information on what is going on in CEN TC 333 it is also meant to consult and discuss the ongoing standardization work,” he said. “As a result, mirror group members will have direct access to and participation in the standardization work.

    For further information on standardization work for light, electric vehicles please contact LEVA-EU, email leva-eu@telenet.be, tel. +32 9 233 60 05


    In CEN TC 333 Eddie Eccleston follows up on:

    –          CEN TC 333 – Cycles – General Assembly where general progress of the standardization work is discussed as well as potential new work items and miscellaneous issues.

    –          CEN TC 333 – Cycles – WG5 EPACs: this is the working group in which EN 15194:2017 has been developed. This working group discusses potential corrections, amendments and revisions of EN 15194:2017.

    –          CEN TC 333 – cycles – WG 9 (E)Cargobikes: this is a new working group that is preparing a European draft standard for (E)Cargobikes.

    SBS background

    Small Business Standards is a European non-profit association, co-financed by the European Commission and EFTA Member States. The SBS reported goal is to represent and defend small and medium-sized enterprises’ (SMEs) interests in the standardisation process at European and international levels. Moreover, it aims to raise awareness to SMEs about the benefits of standards and at encourage them to get involved in the standardisation process. For more information click here


  7. SBS opposes proposal to create ISO committee on social responsibility

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    In April, ISO received a proposal for the creation of a new Technical Committee on social responsibility. If created, the committee would aim to revise the ISO 26000 standard and develop further guidance and/or standards on social responsibility.

    SBS considers that the proposal neither provides a proper justification for the creation of a new ISO Technical Committee nor considers SMEs as an important stakeholder in this area. The principles of social responsibility have not changed since the adoption of the standard. The current ISO 26000 already covers the main principles of social responsibility including sustainability aspects. Therefore, there is no need to revise it. Moreover, SBS doubts whether the development of multiple guidelines and standards under the umbrella of ISO 26000 would help to advance social responsibility and fears that this may just add unhelpful burdens on companies, especially SMEs, instead.

    Small Business Standards (SBS) is a European non-profit association established in 2013 with the support of the European Commission devoted to representing and defending Small and Medium-sized Enterprises’ (SMEs) interests in the standardisation system at European and international levels


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