We continue travelling across Europe to find out further details about the Regional Action Plans developed by DEVISE project partners. This week we move to Northern Ireland to discover the main action of the RAP completed by project partners at Derry City and Strabane District Council.

The DEVISE Action Plan developed for the Derry Strabane region presents a set of prioritised and co-ordinated actions that are required to foster the growth of local digital SME’s, providing innovative solutions that allow a range of sectors to become more competitive. As a result, DCSDC has been able to determine priorities for forthcoming Micro and SME Digital Support initiatives. “There has been a full and detailed consultation process with all relevant stakeholders to ensure that the regional action plan creates a very clear sense of focus and momentum for digitalisation in SME’s, from the outset”, explains Gemma Scarlett, from DCSDC and DEVISE project partner.

Questionnaires were sent out to SME’s involved in the demand and supply side of digital services. The purpose was to seek to understand the challenges that local companies are facing in relation to digitalisation trends and markets, and to understand what type of digital services companies provide and how they add value to their client companies. In addition, Digital Innovation Workshops were organised involving stakeholders representing a cross-section of organisations. Furthermore, DEVISE partners’ good practices were checked, and other desk-based research provided the opportunity to review the activity being carried out in other partner regions.

The DEVISE Action Plan will address Priority Axis 2: ‘Enhancing the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises’ and is aligned with the transfer of economic functions that took place as part of the reform of Local Government in NI.

Following research carried out within the project, DCSDC has developed and implemented an Enhanced Digitisation Capacity action, which encompasses the delivery of three key recommended actions from stakeholder workshops. The action will provide SME’s with a ‘Digital Transformation Action Plan’ (DTAP); equip them with enhanced capacity through one-to-one mentoring support, training and networking for DTAP implementation through increased collaboration and identify and obtaining funding.

DCSDC got inspiration from different DEVISE project partners and the good practices shared. For example, ‘Industry 4.0 Audits’, by Cantabrian Government, and ‘Dendatics’, by Fomento San Sebastian (Spain); and ‘Apollo Programme’ by Laval Mayenne Technopole (France).

“The Enhancing Digitalisation Capacity action will be similar to the Business Boost programme where it will provide individual assistance to businesses who demonstrate a desire and ability to increase their innovation through the development and or implementation of digital processes”, adds Gemma. This action will foster a specific range of support across a number of key themes including Digital and Innovation Growth, Export Competitiveness and create jobs. “The delivery of the action will increase capacity among local SME and it will ensure their sustained long term digitalisation capability”, concludes our DEVISE partner.

Read here DCSDC’s Action Plan.