July 16, 2021

How Connectivity Can Empower Entrepreneurs & Small Business – A Telecom Perspective

Video By

Mr. Erik Ekudden

Chief Technology Officer, Ericsson

The ideas and opinions expressed in this insight are those of the authors; they do not necessarily reflect those of ITU and UNESCO or the Broadband Commission. The mention of specific companies, products or services does not imply that they are endorsed or recommended by ITU or UNESCO or Broadband Commission in preference to others of a similar nature that are not mentioned.

We need connected enterprises that can digitize, thrive and generate jobs, tax revenues, and contribute to tackling climate change. 

Hello I’m Erik Ekudden, CTO of Ericsson.  There is significant untapped connectivity potential among Micro-, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises. Worldwide, these MSMEs account for 9/10 businesses, ½ of global GDP and about 2/3 of jobs. 

But, they have low levels of connectivity and technology utilization compared to the large enterprises. They are also the hardest hit enterprises during COVID-19. So, If we want MSMEs to come back strong from the pandemic and reap connectivity’s potential, we need to do three things to support them. 

First, deliver affordable, ubiquitous networks by rolling out existing, proven and scalable network technology. 

And this is about Mobile broadband, which is forecasted to provide network coverage to 91 percent of the world’s population by 2026. It’s also through selective investment in mature mobile broadband technologies, communications service providers can sustainably expand coverage helping enterprises get online. 

Second, we need to unlock access through education and digital literacy. 

Literacy and skills represent the single biggest, self-reported barrier to internet access with around one third of people in Africa, Latin America, East and South Asia reporting it as their top barrier. So, let us focus on empowering the next generation with digital skills, essential for their socio-economic development. 

Third, Set the digital bar high for everyone and always.

We should make sure enterprises everywhere have access to the innovation platform that is 5G. Otherwise the digital divide risks becoming a chasm.