SMEs – the backbone of the European economy

Micro-enterprises and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) represent more than 99% of all European businesses and provide two-thirds of private sector jobs and contribute more than half of the total value added created by businesses in the EU.

This is why we can say that they are the real backbone of Europe’s economy. Standardization contributes to enhancing the key role of SMEs, but most often, the added value of standards is not well known by small businesses.

Therefore, in recent years, the European standardization organizations CEN and CENELEC have decided to address this issue and have intensified efforts aimed at SMEs and their participation in standardization activities.

Why do SMEs need standards?

Standards help businesses to:

  • ensuring the quality and safety of products and/or services;
  • achieving compatibility between products and/or components;
  • access to international markets;
  • meeting customer requirements and needs;
  • reduce costs and improve efficiency;
  • ensuring compliance with national and international legislation;
  • gaining knowledge about new technologies and innovations.


ASRO encourages and facilitates SMEs’ access to standards and the standard development process, to ensure a higher level of their participation within the national standardization system, in accordance with the requirements of the European Standardization Regulation 1025/2014.

For the implementation of these objectives, ASRO carries out the following:

  1. Create SME-specific products (specific collections, etc.) and offer facilities for purchasing standards, allowing easy access to information on standardisation;
  2. Providing specific facilities for participation in standardisation work (reduced fees, standardisation courses, etc.);
  3. Collaboration with organisations representing SMEs and involvement in programmes to educate them on the use of existing standards as a strategic tool for the organisation and participation in standardisation work;
  4. Develop means to train and engage SMEs in standardisation work and the use of standards (e.g. highlighting projects of interest to SMEs, customised newsletters, etc.);
  5. Participate in the activities of the CEN and CENELEC working group to enable closer monitoring of activities targeting SMEs.

Discover the work of standardisation in a quick and easy way.

The SME e-Learning Platform is a tool developed by CEN-CENELEC for SMEs. It consists of 6 modules with individual topics. Each module starts with an overview of the learning objectives, followed by an animation explaining the topic based on a concrete situation. After the animation, you can read more about the topic and finally test your knowledge.

IMM e-Learning Platform

CEN and CENELEC provide information and tools to help explain the benefits of standards, their use and the conditions for participation in the standards development process.


International ISO standards help SMEs reduce costs, increase productivity and access new markets.

ISO SME portal

Discover some of the benefits that international standards can bring to your business.

10 reasons to include standards in your business

The European organisation SBS (Small Business Standards) represents and defends the interests of SMEs in international standardisation work. Here you can find the latest news on the benefits of standards presented through a wide range of informative material (videos, brochures, articles, infographics).

The voice of European SMEs in standardisation