Data Economy: What are the barriers for SMEs? Have your say.

As Commissioner Oettinger recently stated: “Data has become a good with major socio-economic value. However, to reap the full benefits of new technologies and services, data should flow across borders and across sectors. This is not always the case today”. This is due to many different barriers: interoperability, liability concerns, impossibility to access the data are a few of them. Because of these barriers to data sharing and accessing, companies and citizens cannot always take full advantage of the opportunities brought by the data economy. Many issues faced by SMEs that want to develop new business models based on data are presented in the European DIGITAL SME Alliance’s position paper on Data Economy.

To tackle this situation, the European Commission established the Free Flow of Data Initiative, focusing on the “restrictions on free movement of data for reasons other than the protection of personal data within the EU and unjustified restrictions on the location of data for storage and processing purposes” and recently launched the Communication on “Building a European Data Economy”. In parallel, the European Commission also opened a public consultation to gather stakeholder feedback in this domain and identify the key challenges and trends for future policy-making.

In this context, the European Commission is also carrying out a study on the emerging barriers to the Free Flow of Data including issues of data ownership, interoperability, (re)-usability and access to data, and liability.

The main objective of this study is to provide evidence and analysis for the EU Free Flow of Data Initiative. More specifically, the outcomes of this study will inform the European Commission’s Impact Assessment concerning the emerging issues of data ownership, interoperability, (re)-usability and access to data, and liability.

The study examines these aspects across 11 sectors and it specifically targets companies like you (data analytics companies, digital SMEs and digital businesses) facing challenges and barriers when sharing or accessing data. To precisely capture your issues, the study team developed a short survey, complementing the general information gathered by the public consultation.  The survey only consists of a very limited set questions (maximum 15) covering specifically:

  • Barriers when sharing / accessing data
  • Costs borne when sharing /accessing data
  • Benefits for sharing /accessing data

Do not hesitate to participate in the study by leaving your feedback through the survey! You can find the link for the survey here:

In case you have questions on this study or on the survey please do not hesitate to contact the study team: