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Digital Technologies and the Performance of Small and Medium Enterprises


The profound negative effects of the current pandemic crisis on firms, especially small and medium-sized ones, have forced them to rethink their business models. In order to survive and compete, many businesses have focused on adopting and using digital technologies. Several studies have shown that digital technologies could facilitate business continuity and increase their resilience to shocks. Starting from the fact that SMEs are an important source of innovation and the predominant form of business organization, the European Commission has repeatedly emphasized the importance of digital business transformation and the need to support the digitalisation of SMEs. Our study aims to analyse the degree of digitalisation of SMEs in EU countries and the obstacles they face in digitizing their business. In addition, we aim to examine the extent to which the use of various forms of digital technology could stimulate the growth of SME performance. The analysis covers the 27 EU member states and is mainly based on data provided by the European Commission and the OECD, as well as information provided by European Investment Bank surveys. Our paper complements the literature focused on the digitization of SMEs, especially by highlighting the gaps between EU countries in terms of digitization of the SME sector, but also by empirically examining the impact of digital technologies on the performance of SMEs in EU countries. Through its content, our study emphasizes the crucial importance of digitizing SMEs so that these companies are drivers of economic growth and development of countries. The results of our research may be of interest to both researchers concerned with business digitalisation and decision-makers at various levels, who should prioritize the identification of appropriate measures to stimulate digital innovation and investment in information and communication technology infrastructure.