Are Ukrainian SMEs ready to compete on European markets?
Ukraine has been coping with many challenges since the signing of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement in 2014. Ukrainian firms not only have to adjust to the digital revolution, but also manage significant changes in the economic system including a tax reform or the partial elimination of duties on trade with the EU.
Overall, Ukraine is lagging behind the EU average in digital development, however, positive trends can be identified. The available ICT infrastructure is poorer than in the EU, especially regarding mobile broadband. Ukrainian labour market is characterised by a high and growing number of IT specialists, but the diffusion of digital infrastructure and skills among employees of SMEs is quite low in comparison to European level.
A modest share of Ukrainian SMEs run a website or use the social media when compared with the EU average. They do not take the full advantage of the potential that the digital tools unlock, e.g. to communicate with customers and partners, to promote the image of the company and its products or to build relations with the potential labour force, suppliers and financial institutions. Ukrainian SMEs should get on a stable path of persistent adoption of digital technologies in operations and digital skills among employees to face the challenges of competing on European markets.