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The OECD have published this ‘SME digitalisation to ‘Build Back Better’’ Digital for SMEs (D4SME) policy paper aiming to improve understanding of how SMEs responded to the COVID-19 pandemic and adapted to their new situation and how different elements of their ecosystems are contributing to their digital transition. 

The first part of the paper tells of the digital transformation of SMEs, by providing an overview of key trends in SME uptake of digital technologies across OECD countries. The second part of the paper focuses on some of the main trends emerging from the COVID-19 crisis. The third section discusses international practices in SME digitalisation policies and present original evidence from the “rescue” and “recovery” packages launched by OECD governments to combat the crisis. 

The lack of digital skills is a challenge faced by most SMEs and is clearly becoming a key hurdle to digitalisation. Enabling SMEs to outsource and access the relevant digital skills and training, within their local communities and ecosystems can help to close this digital skills gap. Many SMEs do not need to have advanced digital skills; however, they do need to invest in the internal capabilities to understand the new emerging technologies and what advantages they can bring to their businesses. Covid-19 recovery packages from OECD countries also present a strong focus on digital skills, upskilling and reskilling.

Skills intelligence publication details

Target audience
Digital skills for the labour force.
Digital skills for all
Digital technology / specialisation
Geographic scope - Country
Industry - field of education and training
Generic programmes and qualifications not further defined
Geographical sphere
International initiative
Publication type