Digitalization trends offer a great potential and new business opportunities for entrepreneurs and their companies
The new digitalization program SME DIGITAL (in German: KMU DIGITAL) of the Austrian Federal Ministry of Digital and Economic Affairs in cooperation with the Austrian Economic Chambers provides comprehensive support for these opportunities, specifically for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
The program includes consulting services and financial support for investments in new technologies and digitalization. SME DIGITAL covers a vast array of digitalization topics such as:
- online-shops, social media and electronic commerce
- smart products, service design, internet of things (IoT), 3-D printing, use of big data, crowd sourcing and crowd funding
- CRM-tools, electronic recruiting, near-field communication (NFC), electronic banking
- Data security, IT security, cyber crime
The program launched in autumn 2019 after the successful completion of the predecessor program SME DIGITAL which lasted from September 2017 until summer 2019.
The SME DIGITAL program offers two different modules:
Within the Module Consulting there are two toolboxes available for SMEs.
Toolbox 1 – Status- and Potential Analysis: "What should change?"
The entry-level consulting service Potential Analysis helps entrepreneurs to systematically analyze digital trends, opportunities and risks for their company.
The Status Analyses help entrepreneurs to determine their status quo in the areas of electronic commerce and IT-security. The outcomes of the analyses are summarized in a digitization map and the company gets an overview of possibilities for improvement.
The analyses are conducted by certified digitization consultants and especially recommended for smaller companies. The service is subsidized so that they only have to pay 20 % of the regular price – 80 % of the price is funded by the state.
Toolbox 2 – Strategic Consulting: "How do I get there?"
Through certified consulting services, companies get assistance in defining and implementing concrete steps of their respective digitization strategy. For this purpose, the company can apply for financial support and is offered consulting in four areas (the 4th area of digital administration is currently being developed):
a. Electronic commerce: online marketing & social media
b. Business models & processes: electronic invoices, logistics etc.
c. IT security: to prevent data loss, security gaps and security weak points
d. Digital administration: automation of administration processes, electronic bills etc.
The analyses are conducted by certified digitization consultants. The service so that they only have to pay 50% of the regular price – 50 % of the price is funded by the state.
Within the Module Implementation companies receive funding for projects where they invest in their digital infrastructure. SME DIGITAL funds 30 % of the investment in material and immaterial goods helping SMEs to take their first steps towards digital transformation.
The module implementation will be accessible starting December 11 2019.