Earlier this week nine small businesses, that sell online and leverage the eBay marketplace to reach customers worldwide, descended in Brussels, the capital of the European Union, for a two day event to share their small business stories and discuss with various stakeholders how the European Commission’s Digital Market Strategy (DSM) can benefit European Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs).
One of the event’s highlight was the release of a new eBay report, which found that European SMEs that sell on eBay grew faster than their offline counterparts, even during a time when Europe’s economy is still recovering. The report also makes clear policy recommendations to ensure the DSM is a success. The sellers in attendance, who joined from various countries cited within the report, such as the United Kingdom and Estonia, shared first-hand their views on important business and policy issues impacting SMEs across Europe. Their attendance brought eBay’s research to life for European policymakers.
Digital Economy and Society Commissioner Oettinger, Members of the European Parliament Andreas Schwab, Catherine Stihler, Vicky Ford, Roza Thun and many other leading digital policy makers from the European Parliament and the European Commission appreciated the opportunity to hear directly from individuals that would be touched by these policy decisions. The SMEs in attendance met with these and other members of the Parliament and the Commission during a Digital Single Market conference, a European Parliament roundtable lunch and individual meetings, jointly organized by eBay, the European Small Business Alliance, and Choice in e-Commerce.
During the conference eBay had the distinct pleasure of hearing remarks by Georges Friden, Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative of the Luxembourg EU Presidency and other esteemed experts including cabinet members Jasmin Battista, Member of Parliament Alessia Mosca and European Commission Director for Modernization of the Single Market, Claire Bury.
"For the first time eBay and ESBA have come together to work on the Digital Single Market for Small Business. This is an important step forward to open up and unburden online markets for small businesses, whether trading globally or in the EU. It is crucial to give small businesses this platform to tell their story to the EU to ensure the "think small first" principle is listened to," explained David Caro, President of the European Small Business Alliance.
Marie Huber, eBay’s Senior Vice President and General Counsel, and Paul Todd, Senior Vice President of eBay Europe joined the small businesses in their advocacy efforts.
eBay sellers were also able to attend eBay’s inaugural Seller Advisory Forum meeting. The Forum is a European-wide group that gives European eBay sellers the opportunity to interact with senior eBay leaders and help shape the company’s policy and communication activity so that it supports their business aims.
The event concluded with a cocktail reception inside the European Parliament hosted by Member of Parliament Kaja Kallas of Estonia and keynoted by Fabrice Comptour, Deputy Head of Cabinet for Commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska.
Ultimately both eBay and the sellers hope Members of Parliament and the Commission found this event insightful and a valuable contribution to the ongoing discussions surrounding the Digital Single Market Strategy.