The Association of Portuguese Open Source Software Companies (ESOP) joins its Finnish, French and German counterparts as a new member of the European Open Source Business Association (APELL).
The European Open Source Business Association (APELL) is growing. Founded in 2020, when three national Open Source Software (OSS) business associations representing hundreds of European Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), identified a lack of OSS business-representation in the policy discussions at the European level. At the same time, APELL does not only strive to raise awareness around ‘Openness’ and advocate the interests of OSS businesses across the European Union. It also aims to provide capacity building for those Open Source SMEs to, for example, scale beyond their respective national borders.
Sharing the same goals, the Association of Portuguese Open Source Software Companies (ESOP) joined APELL as an associate member. The full voting members are COSS (the Finnish Centre for Open Systems and Solutions), CNLL (France’s Free Software and Open Digital Enterprise Union) and the German OSBA (Open Source Business Alliance) and OFE (OpenForum Europe).
The enlargement of an association such as APELL can be seen as a response to the increased interest in open technologies from the EU institutions. With projects such as Gaia-X, the investments into digital through the NextGenerationEU recovery funds, and concerns related to digital sovereignty, “it is crucial for Open Source SMEs to have a voice in the political conversation. Other than that, looking at the current Portuguese Council Presidency, the engagement of ESOP might represent an opportunity to bring Portugal closer to OSS-related issues, through the perspective of its national businesses”, said Eduardo Taborda, President of ESOP.
Co-founder Timo Väliharju welcomed ESOP: “SMEs should be directly involved in the discussions related to both the upcoming Data Act and the revision of the European Interoperability Framework, to name a few.”
At a time when digital policy is taking the lead of EU policy discussions, APELL aims to engage and partner with as many national associations as possible, in order to represent them in the political domain and ensure that their voice will be heard.