'LEAD - e-Leadership Skills: for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises' develops targeted actions for start-ups and fast growing SMEs to provide them with relevant e-leadership skills.

The focus of this intiative is on e-leadership, defined as leadership which both relies on information and communication technologies (ICT) and aims to accomplish goals that involve ICT. Effective organisations are demanding e-leaders who are both business and ICT-savvy. 

e-Leadership skills enable people with very strong ICT skills to lead qualified staff from ICT and other disciplines towards identifying and designing business models and exploiting key innovation opportunities. e-Leadership is successful where an organization is making best use of new developments in ICT, where leading edge ICT is driving innovation and delivering value to their organizations.

The European Commission via this service contract aims to support the development of e-leadership skills.

The initiative and the demonstration activities are open to education institutions, industry and associations understanding e-leadership skill requirements in the workplace. Notifications of interest to should be addressed to: lead(at)empirica(dot)com 


There is a need for more precise definitions and for metrics of e-leadership skills for entrepreneurs, freelancers, SMEs, start-ups and gazelles. In the course of the work, we will develop appropriate and useful definitions and metrics, and demonstrate e-leadership types associated with specific kinds of business settings.

We aim to improve monitoring of demand and supply of these skills, in order to increase the effectiveness of policy decision making. Given that among e-leaders, young entrepreneurs (not only digital entrepreneurs) and freelancers play an important role, a special focus in the work is placed on the role of e-leadership skills as enablers of successful entrepreneurial activity.

Specifically, activities will be carried out to:

  • Sharpen the e-leadership definitions and metrics;
  • Specify data requirements for establishing monitoring mechanisms based on data collected from enterprises, universities and business schools; enhanced by and
  • Identify and analyse secondary sources for suitable data to extract information on demand and supply for e-leadership in general but also - and where the statistical data will allow for it – differentiated by company size to separately analyse data relating to SMEs.

The results of this activity will enable the specification of a monitoring mechanism which can be used as a basis for policy making and to improve monitoring of demand and supply of these skills and increase the effectiveness of policy decision making



A technology trend analysis will be carried out together with leading experts from academia and ICT industry to identify and analyse the main technology trends and their impact on new business models and organisation of companies and e-leadership requirements. The team will then map the main trends on the current typologies of skills and to understand demand for new skills and competences emerging – including e-leadership skills.


We research the European e-leadership policy landscape for the different target groups in which these above activities are embedded. This includes national policies and stakeholder initiatives such as multi-stakeholder partnerships


We research the European landscape of e-Leadership courses and MOOCs and analyse relevant and new e-leadership courses and initiatives from education and training organisations and industry. We look for already existing activities, universities and business schools, programmes and courses that cover e-leadership, inlcuding executive or master’s level education but also programmes of leading ICT vendors and training, examination and certification organisations.


A key activity of the work will be to offer business leaders from innovative or high-growth SMEs from different EU Member States to participate in the demonstration of a new e-leadership programme carefully designed taking into account the research findings.

The content of the demonstrated programme will take account of insights from the survey, interviews, workshops and other activities of the project.

Courses will be centred around business requirements. The ambition of the demonstration is to reach the right individuals and deliver to them those skills which they can use to accelerate and secure their contribution to ICT-based innovation in Europe.

Learning outcomes are expected to focus on creating value from ICT such as cloud computing, mobile, social technology and Big Data. The programmes will address key SME e-leadership skills gaps and demonstrate effective teaching of these. This especially includes competences required to initiate and guide innovation through ICT in an SME or start-up context.


The service contract 'LEAD - e-Leadership Skills: for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises' is funded by the European Commission DG ENTR – Unit ENTR-E4 - Key Enabling Technologies and Digital Economy.

e-Leadership Skills for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises is contributing to the "Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs" and as a contribution to the follow up of the Commission’s Communication on "e-Skills for the 21st Century" which presents an EU long term e-skills agenda, of "The Digital Agenda for Europe" and of the Communication "Towards a Job-rich Recovery".

The main focus of this service contract is on e-leadership in SMEs and start-up firms. e-Leadership has been defined as the accomplishment of a goal that relies on information and communication technologies (ICT) through the direction of human resources and uses of ICT. This type of leadership is thus distinguished by the type of goal that needs to be accomplished and the type of resources a leader must coordinate and align: both the goal and the resources involve using ICT.


A service contract has been awarded in December 2013 by the European Commission to a consortium led by empirica to undertake this work.

The event is supported by the EC in the scope of the service contract to promote e-leadership in Europe (LEAD)