The NetworldEurope SME Working Group is the voice of the NetworldEurope SME community, as well as the networking place for the NetworldEurope SME community. It has been officially endorsed by the NetWorld2020 Steering Board on 27 June 2014 in Bologna, with the following mandate:


Since its inception, SME Working Group activities have been mostly focusing on promoting the skills and expertise of SMEs in the telecommunications domain, especially towards larger companies and research organisations, and on supporting the engagement of SMEs in collaborative projects and cooperation with those players, via networking and exchange of information amongst SME representatives.

The main activities of the SME WG include periodic online meetings,  regular updates of the “Find your SME” web page, including the SME brochure and the SME success stories; relaying relevant information on projects, events, etc. to members; interaction amongst SMEs; organisation of webinars on topics relevant to SMEs (e.g. in cooperation with EC projects and/or the European DIGITAL SME Alliance); participation in events e.g. with dedicated SME-related presentations; and other SME promotional activities e.g. report to NetworldEurope Steering Board and the 5G Initiative Steering Board meetings. The SME WG also has a strong link to the 6G Infrastructure Association, with one of its representatives in the Board of the Association.

The number of members in the SME Working Group has been regularly increasing since its inception. By end of October 2022, there were 987 NetworldEurope members, including 361 SMEs.


The European Smart Networks and Services Joint Undertaking (SNS JU) aims to ensure industrial leadership for Europe in 5G and 6G. The SNS JU has two main missions: Fostering Europe’s technology sovereignty in 6G, Boosting 5G deployment in Europe. It also supports technological sovereignty for Europe.

The SME WG released in November 2021 a Position Paper related to the participation and contribution of SMEs in the SNS JU. This led the SNS JU to adopt a Key Performance Indicator (KPI) to request a minimum 20% participation of SMEs in SNS projects.

63 SMEs will be members of 6G-IA by October 2022, therefore contributing to the SNS strategy and work programmes.

How to join the NetworldEurope SME Working Group and contribute?

Joining NetworldEurope SME working group is easy and takes only a few minutes:

  1. Ask NetworldEurope Membership by filling the application form (if you are not already a member)
  2. Click here to send an email requesting to be part of the SME Working Group

Welcome to the community!

Industry, academia: find the SME you need!

Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) have an important role to play in developing, piloting and deploying 5G and beyond technologies, including complementary domains such as IoT, AI, ML and others, and to address the needs of various vertical sectors (automotive, energy, health, manufacturing, etc.).

Via the FIND THE SME YOU NEED web page as well as the SME BROCHURE, the NetworldEurope SME Working Group provides industry and academia with information of what expertise and skills SMEs can bring in terms of 5G/6G innovation, and of knowledge of vertical sectors and complementary domains.

2021 showed a continued interest in the SME web pages and the SME brochure. The “Find the SME you need” web page was viewed more than 3,000 times in 2021, making it the most viewed page on the NetworldEurope website, after the home page. Thank you to all who showed interest!

SMEs in the 5G Public-Private Partnership

The 5G Infrastructure Public Private Partnership (5G PPP) is a joint initiative between the European Commission and European ICT industry (ICT manufacturers, telecommunications operators, service providers, SMEs and researcher Institutions).  Its main objective is to reinforce the European industry to successfully compete on global markets and open new innovation opportunities around 5G and the associated vertical sectors.

The SME participation in 5G PPP projects has exceeded the original objective of 20% participation defined as a Key Performance Indicator of the programme. According to the H2020 dashboard, the participation of SMEs in the 5G PPP has reached 21.95% of EU funding, representing a total of 156.3 M€[1]. SMEs have contributed to 24.43% of the total participation in 5G PPP projects. 65% of the SMEs participated in one project, and 35% in two or more projects.

167 SMEs are participating in 5G PPP Phase 3 projects, for a total EC funding in the range of 100 M€. Although the participation of SMEs in 5G PPP projects has been quite stable throughout the various phases of the programme, Phase 3, and more especially the call dedicated to “5G innovations for verticals with third party services”, allowed the participation of SMEs to finally exceed the objective. The EC funding for SMEs reached 49% in this specific call, in line with the recommendation from the call text that “50% of SMEs are targeted for this action”. Remarkably enough, despite this peak in participation with this call for Innovation Actions (IAs), the global level of participation of SMEs in Research and Innovation Actions (RIAs) and in IAs is similar in the 5G PPP.

[1] All figures are extracted from the H2020 dashboard



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