ESF is helping to support rapid and efficient restructuring in Denmark’s retail trade, due to the major changes the COVID-19 pandemic has created.
With help from the European Social Fund (ESF), the “Strengthened businesses in Denmark” project aims to strengthen the local retail trade to deal with the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, with the overall goal to create digitalisation and e-commerce through competence development in small and medium-sized companies.The project began in 2017 and started work to improve digital competencies of employees and managers to equip companies with skills in e-commerce and digital marketing. The project has so far supported 266 employees from 206 companies at street level. However, the prolonged closure of the retail trade during the COVID-19 crisis has since created additional needs for efforts, including 1 to 1 guidance, mentors and networking activities.
Project manager, Helge Padegaard said "If you pull the trade out of the city, then there is no attraction left, and then it is difficult to attract new citizens or hold on to the current ones. Everything counts, and therefore we have included in the project all shops that are at street level on a typical pedestrian street, because they all support being in a city."
The project is supported by the ESF under the axis for growth-oriented competence development. So far, the project has successfully helped companies generate $30 million. DKK in extra turnover and has created 14 new jobs. When the project is complete, the extra turnover is expected to be $46 million. DKK and another 46 new jobs are expected to be created. This is vital in creating a strong retail trade in smaller Danish cities to help strengthen the economy and tourism sector for Danes and other EU citizens.
Martin Fischer, co-owner of the kitchen equipment store Køkkenfreak in Svendborg, stated “It is crucial to have a link between a physical store and a webshop. The two things can’t stand alone but complement each other. And it has become very pronounced after COVID-19. For example, we had a Danish tourist inside the store this summer, who then orders online at home for delivery in the autumn. Against this background, we expect a large online Christmas sale for tourists who liked our physical store.”
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