IGF 2018 WS #389
Internet and SMEs: Spurring digitization and connectivity


Sub-theme description: SMEs and SMBs

Organizer 1: Private Sector, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)

Speaker 1: Natasha Jackson, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 2: Torbjörn Fredriksson, Intergovernmental Organization, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 3: Kati Suominen, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Round Table - 90 Min


Natasha Jackson joined the GSMA in 2005 and is responsible for leading the GSMA’s work on consumer protection including the development and promotion of responsible self-regulatory approaches in the areas of privacy and online safety. This makes Ms. Jackson a key speaker for our panel, since she will provide input on how the mobile services are helping boost SMEs along the globe.

Mr. Torbjörn Fredriksson heads the ICT Analysis Section of the Division on Technology and Logistics at the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). He is among other things responsible for the annual Information Economy Report and UNCTAD’s work on e-commerce and ICT measurement. Therefore Mr. Fredriksson will bring to the table his vast experience in one of the most powerful tools for SMEs as it is e-commerce and trade.

Kati Suominen is founder and CEO of the Nextrade Group and also serves as founder and CEO of TradeUp, a new crowd investment platform for export-driven small and mid-size companies, as Founder of U.S. Export Capital, and aspiring fund for SME exporters. We believe that due to Ms. Suominen experience, she will be able to share a unique perspective and provide useful insights as to have a better understanding of these topics.

Facebook (Speaker TBC) is a leading company, providing different tools for SMEs to boost and make the most of all the advantages that Internet can provide. Therefore we believe this speaker will be able to provide insights on how they are working to help SMEs flourish and achieve new goals and objectives.

Local SMB (TBC). We strongly believe that to fulfill this panel a SMB should take part of it. Therefore we are still working on bringing a local SMB that can share their successful case with the audience.


A) All stakeholders are represented in workshop (we count with members of Private Sector, Academia, International Organization, etc)
B) All policy perspectives are contained in this workshop: the speakers come from different backgrounds and hold different opinions even when they belong to the same stakeholder.
C) We count with speakers of Europe, USA, LatAm, among others, including by this manner at least 3 geographic regions.
D) We have gender balance: More than 50% of our participants (speakers - organizers - moderators) are females.
E) Youth: the co-proposer and rapporteur of this workshop is under 26 years old.

The Internet has changed the global scene and it is transforming the way users and customers around the world interact, shop, bank, and spend their time. The Internet is changing regional and global consumption patterns, the landscape of regional companies, and the economic prospects. Companies of all sizes are being able to cut costs, improve customer service, and create brand new products and services by using new digital technologies, that are helping boost their productivity. Internet has opened tremendous new opportunities for regional economies to become more productive. Furthermore, there is also growing adoption of mobile-based tools and solutions that aim to spur the digitisation of systems, processes and interactions across a number of industries, especially in low- and middle income countries. In this regard, SMEs are a vital part of the global economy, as they represent more than half of the formal jobs in the world, what shows that empowering SMEs by allowing them to incorporate technology to their processes is vital to enhance their competitiveness.

In short, Internet is reshaping various patterns what opens a new window for SMEs to make the most of it. Internationalization is now an achievable reality for many small and medium companies through the right and intensive use of technological tools, where new markets, new users and customers, among other key elements, are being available at lower costs. In this context, SMEs around the globe increasingly benefit from the improvements in productivity and efficiency brought about by increased take-up of mobile services and M2M/IoT solutions.

Having this in mind, this workshop will seek show how different stakeholders in the digital ecosystem are providing innovative tools and services to help boost SMEs around the globe, opening new markets and possibilities for them. Throughout the different interventions, this workshop will try to show how SMEs can benefit from digitalization and connectivity, among others.

Intended agenda:

Introduction: 2 minutes introduction delivered by the in-presence moderator, who will briefly introduce the topic and the debates around this area.

First round of key speakers: 4 minutes max. per key speaker, five speakers. As the idea of this roundtable is to make the audience participants, each key speaker will count with 5 minutes to introduce their perspectives on the topic. The presentations will be short but concise, what will allow a better understanding of each speaker opinions on the subject. After this first round, 2 minutes will be granted to the speakers, in case they want to reply any of their colleagues speakers.(Total time: 25 minutes).

Moderator will open the floor for comments/questions

First round of opentable: 3-4 minutes max. per participant (total time allocated: 18 minutes). The microphone will be open to other intervention delivered by the participants. After one in-presence participant speech or question, the in-presence moderator will ask the remote moderator if any remote participant would like to post a question or comment.

Moderator will announce when first opentable is over and deliver the microphone to the next key speaker.

Second round of key speakers: 3-4 minutes max. per key speaker, six speakers. Same dynamic as in the first round will be applied (Total time: 25 minutes)

Moderator will open the floor for comments/questions.

Second round of opentable: 3-4 minutes max. per participant. Same dynamic as in the second round will be applied (Total time: 18 minutes)

Moderator will announce when second opentable is over

Final remarks: the moderator will close the table, by reading some final remarks, stating all the positions argued during the workshop (total time: 2 minutes)

Total time distribution:
Introduction: 2 minutes
Total time speakers: 50 minutes (divided into two rounds of 26 minutes each).
Total time participants (remote and in person): 36 minutes (divided into two rounds of 18 minutes each).
Closing: 2 minutes
Total time: 90 minutes.

We propose the scheme of participation and time allocation described above, taking care to provide enough time to the audience to interact with the participants. Additionally, remote questions and participation from other regions will be addressed by the online moderator in order to be sure that we can capture online reactions.

This workshop helds a vital importance, as it will seek to bring to the table the ongoing discussion in many countries and sectors: how can we help SMEs around the globe to make the most of the digital tools in order to reach new markets and audiences, while reducing costs and making them more efficient. Moreover, this workshop will address how can SME oriented policies can enhance and foster the emerging of new and innovative SMEs.

Online Participation

As to enhance online participation the remote moderator will provide constant support and feedback to the remote participants that want to address the discussion. Moreover, the in-person moderator will frequently address the remote moderator, as to assure the online participation, by directly asking the remote moderator if there are any online comments or questions. This will translate in a separate microphone that will be allocated specifically for the remote moderator to formulate the questions and comments made by the remote participants. Furthermore, the remote moderator will coordinate a separate online queue of questions, as to keep an organized record of the questions.

Reference Document: http://late.online/en/