Assessing the representativity of EICTA and Agoria

After reading the recent press-release issued by EICTA [1] against the text that was voted on Spetember 24 2003 about the question of patentability of computer implemented invention (usually called software patents), I wanted to asses the true representativity of EICTA and especially its Belgian members (as I am Belgian) on an economic point of view as they claim to also represent SME ... what I do not believe.

And rightfully so, found this: Agoria is a business organisation, representing the larger companies (the entry level membership is about 55,000 BEF/year). Unizo is more focusing on the smaller SME's (KMO's).

FYI: - Agoria is host to the Vlaamse Software Platform <vsp-vzw.org> It is interested in FLOSS, and has recently even organised a workshop around it Contact person is Eugene van Roesel.

- Unizo is playing with the idea to set up a cell for its members active in the software world. Any members, as far as I am informed, but it could be an opportunity to give FLOSS visibility on yet another front. I don't know who is the responsible person within Unizo.

Please come along to do the same for the other members states associations of EICTA.

The idea is to use these information, not to influence EICTA or its members, but to MEP and other, to which EICTA tells arguments concerning SMEs

I would also like to investigate more who really are the direct members of EICTA, especially in order to aswer the following question: can we really say that EICTA represent _European companies_ in contrast to US or Japan companies. From a first view of the list of 49 direct members, most of them would qualifya as non European companies.

EICTA direct members

EICTA claims to have 49 companies as direct members. These companies are listed on http://www.eicta.org/Content/Default.asp?PageID=168

Here are the ones I would claim as European companies. To qualify a company as European, I would consider the nationality of its President and CEO as well as the address of its main corporate center (headoffice), ie. that the main decision are taken by people mainly located in Europe and who have a "mainly" European economical interest. Another interesting criteria would be to look where most of its workforce is working. For the list below, I have not had the time to check all these data, and I have checked the address.

Alcatel, Bang & Olufsen, BLAUPUNKT WERKE, BULL, EADS-Telecom, ERICSSON, GRUNDIG, INFINEON TECHNOLOGIES, LOEWE OPTA (Use apache on its webserver !), NOKIA, OLIVETTI TECNOST, PHILIPS CONSUMER ELECTRONICS, SIEMENS, THALES, THOMSON

That is only 15 of the 49 members of EICTA have "mainly European interest".

AGORIA

AGORIA, often considered a representative of large companies, also claims that it is also a good representative of SME's (PME/MKB/KMO). On http://www.agoria.be/PME/News/representativite.htm, we can see the following:

Representativeness of the SME's with AGORIA

 Size   Number of enterprises   Turnover (%)   Employment (%) 
 0-49   713 (56,4%)   6,4   7,3 
 49-100   239 (18,9%)   3,1   8,7 
 100+   312 (24,7%)   90,5   84,0 
 Total   1264 (100%)   100,0   100,0 
 Regions   (% of number of SME's) 
 Wallonie   37% 
 Bruxelles   8% 
 Vlaanderen   55% 

This clearly shows that SME represent only a minority within AGORIA: while the number of employees altogether represent 16 % of the employees represented by AGORIA member companies, this correspond to only 10 % of the overall turnover.

By going to http://online.agoria.be/s/p.exe/webinter/prg/iz_activity?vLngID=3&vFed=&vSearch=activity, searching for all their ICT members and then going to each individual member page, we can find the number of employees of each ICT-member company. This yields the following information:

 Size   Number of enterprises   Employment (absolute)   Employment (%)    
 0-49   108   1 757   4,07 
 50-99   34   2 445   5,67 
 100+   67   38 918   90,26 
 Total   209   43 120   100,00 

Those are the numbers of ICT-employees represented by Agoria (this data is presumably from 2002 or 2003, as it comes from their membership database). At http://www.agoria.be/PME/News/chiffrescles.htm, we can find the total number of people employed in ICT in Belgium (in 2001):

The SME's in the ICT industry (numbers from 2001)

    TOTAL   SME    
 Production activity          
 Number of employers   7 102   6 733   ONSS ++ 
 Deliveries in mln EUR   46 614   10 729   Prodcom + 
 Export rate ***   71,3%   42,6%   Prodcom + 
 People employed   238 245   84 763   ONSS ++ 
 People employed   224 392   66 914   Prodcom ++ 
 ITC Services       
 Number of employers   4 213   4 113   ONSS ++ 
 People employed   57 798   34 658   ONSS ++ 

SME: enterprises with less than 100 people

 + Division per activity (enterprises with at least 10 persons)
 ++ Division per enterprise

As you can see, these numbers don't really correspond the ones regarding the counts of Agoria-represented employees above (the total number of employees of ICT non-SME's part of Agoria is about 15 000 bigger than the total number of employees of all ICT non-SME companies in Belgium!). JonasMaebe will go to an NIS infoshop to get more recent statistics about the whole of Belgium.

[1] http://www.eicta.org/dls/Common/GetFile.asp?&logonname=guest&ID=7115%20&mfd=off

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