Digitalization as an essential growth factor contributing in SME development (experience of Latvia and Romania)
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In today’s global economy, entrepreneurship is an important economic growth engine for the European Union. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of Europe’s economy, providing 85 % of all new jobs. The European Commission aims to promote entrepreneurship and improve the business environment for SMEs, to allow them to realise their full potential in today’s global economy (EC.2015. COSME). The expansion of SMEs in today's environment is increasingly influenced by the use of digital networks. The present research focuses on the characteristics of digital environment use by SMEs in two EU Member States – Romania and Latvia. Groups of entrepreneurs that produced both goods and services and differed in number of the employed and geographical location were surveyed in each country. The information acquired revealed the technological and economic characteristics of the digitalization process in each country, highlighting both similarities and differences. An analysis of the data gives an opportunity to identify main priorities to enhance SME digitalization processes in the future. The first of them is the accessibility of competent workers in digitization and digitalization.