SME Compatibility Test – A unique tool for SMEs in Standardisation

Small Business Standards (SBS), the association representing European small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in standardisation, has developed the first SME Compatibility Test for Standards. The online test, easily accessible from SBS website, can be used by any standard maker who wish to assess the SME-compatibility of a standard.

SMEs are the businesses that could potentially benefit the most from standards, but they face fundamental challenges when it comes to taking up standards and use them to reach their full potential. To help address this issue, SBS has developed the SME Compatibility Test for Standards.


The SME Compatibility Test, an absolute first in the field of standardization, can measure and quantify the impact of a standard on SMEs activities and rate it in terms of SME-readiness. The test allows standard-makers and SMEs to evaluate both existing standards and new standards under development. The test has been developed thanks to the work and support of SBS experts and builds on the CEN-CENELEC Guide 17 - “Guidance for writing standards taking into account micro, small and medium-sized enterprises’ needs”.


The test can be used to evaluate any standard: national, regional (EN) or international (ISO, IEC). The user will decide which standard to evaluate and analyse it according to a set of 11 criteria, for a total of 21 questions.



On top of evaluating the criteria with a numerical value, the user can also give comments and bring evidence backing his/her answers. The values given for certain criteria are weighted differently for their importance.


Once all the answers have been given, the test will then automatically calculate the rating of the standard, based on the user’s responses. The rating will fall into of the three main categories:

  • Between 0 and 33%:the standard is poor and causes substantial challenges for SMEs. The standard requires urgent/fundamental improvement.
  • Between 34 and 66%:the standard is average in relation to compatibility with SMEs’ needs. The standard should be improved.
  • Between 67 and 100%:the standard is good and compatible with SMEs' needs in general. The standard requires little or no change.


In order to improve inclusiveness and SMEs uptake of standards, it is crucial to avoid designing standards that are a poor fit for SMEs or place a disproportionate burden on them. The Compatibility Test offers all stakeholders a concrete tool to design standards that are better tailored to the needs of SMEs and allow them to flourish and reach their full potential.


The assessment method can be updated, if necessary, in accordance with the experiences of its users. Should you have any suggestion regarding this assessment method or any of its details, please contact the SBS Secretariat



Our use of cookies

We use necessary cookies to make our site work. We'd also like to set optional analytics cookies to help us improve it. We won't set optional cookies unless you enable them. Using this tool will set a cookie on, your device to remember your preferences.

Necessary cookies enable core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility. You may disable these by changing your browser settings, but this may affect how the website functions.

We'd like to set Google Analytics cookies to help us to improve our website by collecting and reporting information on how you use it. The cookies collect information in a way that does not directly identify anyone.

I accept all cookies