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Data Cooperation Platforms for SMEs

Large digital platforms from the USA and China have dominated digital markets across industries and countries. They quickly became the most valuable companies in the world. Due to the growth and growing influence of large US digital corporations, the platform is now widely regarded as the most successful business model for the digital economy.


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The project Data Cooperation Platforms for SMEs (DaPla Mittelstand) is exploring how small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) operating in data-rich markets can better participate in the increasing platformization of value chains. The project examines the extent to which SMEs are able to establish and use digital platform cooperatives. It discusses conditions for successful platform cooperative governance models for SMEs in data-intensive markets. In particular, collaborations among SMEs or alliances between SMEs and large companies will be assessed.

Challenges and opportunities for SMEs

The project first conducts a landscape analysis of SME-oriented platforms in data-intensive markets in Germany. Second, mechanisms, success factors and obstacles in existing platform cooperative collaborations are examined.

platform cooperative


The project combines data-scientific methods with qualitative and participatory formats. Insights are generated in conversation with entrepreneurs and experts in the digital platform ecosystem. Through active and constant participation of policy and SME representatives, this exploratory study will form the basis for platform cooperative policy recommendations and more extensive follow-up studies.

Project duration01.02.2020 – 20.07.2020
FundingFederal Ministry of Finance


Tina Krell

Former Associated Researcher: Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Society

Nicolas Friederici, Dr.

Former Associated Researcher: Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Society

Part of the research group

Former employees

  • Lena Starke | HIIG Lena Starke
    Former Researcher: Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Society
  • Nicolas Friederici, Dr.
    Former Associated Researcher: Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Society
  • Tina Krell | HIIG Tina Krell
    Former Associated Researcher: Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Society

Journal articles and conference proceedings

Trischler, M., Meier, P., & Trabucchi, D. (2021). Digital platform pactics: how to implement platform strategy over time. Journal of Business Models, 9(1), 67-76. DOI: 10.5278/jbm.v9i1.5908 Publication details

Friederici, N., Meier, P., & Gümüşay, A. A. (2020). An opportunity for inclusion? Digital platform innovation in times of crisis. Pioneers Post. Publication details

Bohn, S., Friederici, N., & Gümüşay, A. A. (2020). Too big to fail us? Platforms as systemically relevant. Internet Policy Review. Publication details

Book contributions and chapters

Meier, P. (2021). Digital platforms as drivers of innovation. In V. Nestle, P. Glauner, & P. Plugmann (Eds.), Creating Innovation Spaces – Impulses for Start-ups and Established Companies in Global Competition/Management for Professionals (pp. 183-191). Basel, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing. Publication details

Working paper

Krell, T., Braesemann, F., Stephany, F., Friederici, N., & Meier, P. (2020). A Mixed-Method Landscape Analysis of SME-focused B2B Platforms in Germany. Social Science Research Network. Publication details

Other publications

Friederici, N., Krell, T., Meier, P., Braesemann, F., & Stephany, F. (2020). Plattforminnovation im Mittelstand, . Publication details

Lectures and presentations

Daten-Kooperationsplattformen für den Mittelstand
Digitale Plattformen im Mittelstand – Gemeinsame Wertschöpfung als Chance?. Friedrich Ebert Foundation. Online, Berlin, Germany: 16.02.2021 Further information

Nicolas Friederici

Governance of SME-focused Data Cooperation Platforms in Germany
ISPIM Conference 2020 (Session: Research in Progress: Platforms and Ecosystems). ISPIM, Online, Germany: 09.06.2020 Further information

Tina Krell

Organisation of events

Policy Co-Creation Workshop
17.06.2020. Online, Berlin, Germany. Co-Organised by: Federal Ministry of Finance (National)

Tina Krell, Nicolas Friederici, Philip Meier