European regions encouraged to offer SMEs vouchers of up to €10,000 to go digital
The European Commission is publishing a blueprint to help micro-enterprises and small businesses in Europe’s regions grow by using digital technologies. To ensure funding allocated to SMEs to enhance their e-commerce and ICT capacities is spent quickly and in full, innovation vouchers worth up to €10,000 will be made available for purchasing and learning to make use of digital (ICT) services. Such ICT innovation voucher schemes are being piloted in the Spanish Regions of Murcia and Extremadura.
Going online and using other digital technologies increases competitiveness, exports, and domestic market opportunities. Web-connected small businesses across G-20 countries have 22% higher revenue growth than those with low or no web-use. In Germany, 93% of small and medium-sized businesses with an active web presence increased employment over three years, compared with only 50% of those not online.
The regional voucher schemes would allow small businesses to exchange their vouchers for specialist ICT services such as website development, learning how to sell through eCommerce, or adopting more sophisticated ICT tools for business processes, such as supply chain management and customer relations management.
The Commission is offering regions a detailed blueprint to help implement the scheme, with a workshop the Open Days, 11th European Week for Regions and Cities.