The ICT innovation vouchers' scheme is a useful instrument to include in strategies for innovation and growth implemented at local and regional levels. It enables regional and national authorities to facilitate SMEs' access to digital know-how and technology by giving them the incentive to connect with ICT knowledge and service providers. The aim is to encourage the use of new ICT-based business models.
Each scheme is not only tailored to the regional situation but is also designed in such a way as to be easy for SMEs to implement. The regions can set up and fund an ICT Innovation vouchers scheme notably through the EU structural and investment funds (ESIF). The implementation of the scheme will be processed in a decentralised way by each region or country that will decide to use this instrument to trigger SMEs' digitization and contribute to their business development.
Micro-enterprises and SMEs benefitting from a voucher can exchange the latter against ICT services, including services from private companies, universities, research centres and other accredited ICT knowledge and service providers. The voucher provides the company with easy access to specialist services, such as creating a business website and using it profitably, learning to use e-commerce tools to buy or sell, or adopting more sophisticated ICT tools for internal processes, such as better resource planning, supply chain management, and customer relations management.
Find more about best practices by reading the fact sheets of several existing ICT innovation vouchers schemes already running in Europe.