How can RDA support the contribution and growth of SMEs?
Data will create hundreds of thousands of new jobs and growth, which is forecast at €17 billion worldwide in 2015, according to a European Commission memo on Making the most of the Data-Driven Economy published today 2 July 2014
We are all well aware of the economic, as well as societal, benefits of (big) data, I recently moderated the Made with Data workshop, organised by RDA Europe, at Futur en Seine in June 2014 as the first in a series of RDA EU innovation workshops looking to understand and connect with industry and SMEs. While waiting for the full, official report to be published, I would like to share a few take home messages from SMEs to RDA and vice versa. Recent entrepreneur experiences in RDA included:
- Getting out of a niche by discovering similar problems in a large spectrum of scientific fields and therefore extending potential markets
- Meeting experts to discuss latest technologies and share experiences/issues
- Contributing to the design of standard/common solutions for Research Data to make products more attractive to potential clients (academic institutions, industries or start-ups)
- Meeting other entrepreneurs
- Meeting potential new clients with specific use-cases
While a few barriers to participation include the fact that no travel support is available for SMEs and it is difficult to sell expertise in the RDA working groups due to a lack of financial support for effort. RDA currently lacks a defined interaction platform for SMEs/entrepreneurs.
So how can RDA support the contribution and growth of SMEs? Yann LeFranc, a researcher and entrepreneur offered us some food for thought at the workshop:
- Propose travel support for SMEs
- Offer the possibility to work in RDA Working groups as consultants
- Create a marketplace to link SMEs with RDA members to develop specific use-case:
- Listing of SMEs with expertise
- Web interface allowing RDA members to submit calls for SMEs
- Special session in RDA plenary: “meet up with SMEs”
- Establish a funding scheme to support the development of SME/RDA member projects under the umbrella of RDA
- Create a working group centered around SMEs problems (e.g. how to create businesses around open data and open source?)
We need to find solutions and support for SMEs to participate in RDA, these suggestions are a good place to start.