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European Commission encourages SME’s to go digital

The European Commission encourages small and medium businesses to go digital, by giving away vouchers worth up to 10.000 euros . These vouchers can be exchanged for things like software training, website development services or learning how to sell through ecommerce.

Such ICT innovation voucher schemes are now being piloted in two Spanish regions, Murcia and Extremadure, the press release tells us. According to vice-president Neelie Kroes small business using digital services grow twice as fast, export twice as much, and create twice as many new jobs. And according to Commissioner for Regional Policy Johannes Hahn, small and medium enterprises are the lifeblood of Europe’s economies and the source of future jobs in its cities and regions. So it doesn’t come as a surprise the European Commission is giving away vouchers to these businesses.

To further support their argument to help SME’s it says that web-connected small businesses across G-20 countries have 22% higher revenue growth than small businesses 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 European Commission has made a blueprint to help authorities indentify the needs of SMEs to go digital and to assess whether vouchers are fit to address this. For now, it seems that companies in Europe are only slowly adopting ICT for their business. From 2010 to 2012, there was only a 6% increase in businesses with a website.

ICT_innovation_voucherRead the whole voucher as a pdf.