Small business representation is paying off. The European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) recently reviewed its internal procedures to mandate that proposers of new standards describe their relevance to SMEs. As decided by the ETSI Board in January 2020, all new standards projects at ESTI will be accompanied with a form that displays information on their impact on SMEs. This decision, which further aligns the ETSI procedures with the Institute’s objective of SME inclusiveness, was the result of the work of Small Business Standards (SBS) in the ETSI decision-making bodies.

Raising awareness about standards among SMEs

What will be the practical consequences for SMEs and their representative associations? While this decision will not create burdens or the need for additional approvals in the process of developing new standards, it will contribute to increase information among SMEs about new standards that potentially impact their business. Indeed, the new forms for novel standards projects will give a useful tool to SME associations that want to screen new standardisation developments and inform their members about them. This way, SMEs will be able to timely decide whether to take part in standardisation processes at an early development stage rather than later, when influencing the processes is more difficult.

“Will your deliverable be of particular interest to SMEs?”

Proposers of new standards will be asked to provide information on some SME-relevant questions: Will the deliverable be of particular interest to SMEs, e.g. will it be especially useful for smaller companies? Will its implementation have particular implications for SMEs? If the deliverable requires testing or third party conformity assessment, is this likely to have high costs that would affect companies with smaller production scales? Is the deliverable likely to be used as a reference in public procurement? Other questions that may be used to increase SME participation are: Do you consider that the participation of SMEs in your technical body for drafting this deliverable should be increased? Would you like SME associations, clusters and trade bodies to be informed about it, such that they can call on their constituents to participate?

SBS welcomes the proposal and will, together with the ETSI management, regularly assess the implementation and its effects on SME representation with a view to further improve ETSI’s procedures.