Small businesses are the lifeblood of the global economy – they make up 99% of enterprises in Europe. They account for around two-thirds of total employment, ranging from 53% in the UK to 86% in Greece and contribute over half of the GVA in the EU.

But outside of the glamour of statistics, small businesses provide us with a plethora of goods and services to keep our lifestyles and businesses going the way we need them to, they boost neighbourhood economies and they provide local knowledge.

As regional distributors we understand the needs of our local SME VARs and resellers and most vitally we understand the needs of the local end customer. We know that some cloud technology won’t work in specific local areas because of connectivity issues and we understand that some regions are more prone to natural disasters making data back-up and recovery a priority. Understanding the local economic landscape means we can take into account factors such as regeneration or public sector projects that might require up-front financial support.

The differences between the countries and regions of Europe go way beyond just language. Regional legislation for example, particularly relevant when it comes to data privacy laws, means we can offer a service to VARs that includes knowledge of where regulatory duties need to be obeyed. We know that this kind of local knowledge and understanding is essential when it comes to being a true partner – both for us to our VARs and for our VARs to their customers.

With fewer layers of management and bureaucracy, regional distribution is capable of making decisions faster and with more precision. We are able to provide urgent answers when a deal needs financing or when a tender is due. We can provide localised technical support, quickly and easily without multiple calls or call transfers.

It is this localised knowledge that is so vital when it comes to distribution in Europe, and why the Technology Channels Alliance is an essential institution for us all to be a part of and support.

By coming together under a united regional organisation we can ensure the power we have as a group of regional players is strong enough to create influence. It provides all of us with a platform for speaking to vendor partners and ensures the thoughts and opinions of our local partners can be taken to vendor headquarters.

It is only by having an organisation such as the TCA that local and regional distributors can get their voices heard above the cacophony of the global players. Those who are biggest will naturally claim a larger share of the vendor ear. However, the unification of regional and local distributors under the TCA will ensure we are not just heard, but are listened to.

Alessandro Cattani
CEO, Esprinet