Establishing strategic alliances between tech-savvy and traditional SMEs
Sharing best practices may be one of the methods SMEs can use to recover from the Covid pandemic. As such, the European Commission has established a recovery package and released a call for proposals wherein the establishment of strategic alliances are sought between tech-savvy SMEs and traditional SMEs facing the need to adapt to the post-crisis economic environment. The call focuses on the benefits of adopting advanced technologies with the final objective of contributing to a wider spreading and diffusion of advanced technologies across SMEs in Europe and to boost economic recovery.
The purpose of the call is to launch two pilot projects focused on building alliances among traditional and tech-savvy SMEs through industrial cluster organisations in order to promote SME collaboration and technology adoption within specific industrial ecosystems. Applications are to be submitted electronically by the 2nd of February 2021, 17:00 (CET). The present call for proposals includes activities such as organising and managing at least one virtual match-making event, technical assistance, the necessary communication and dissemination activities, providing business support for the adaptation of the technologies for SMEs, identifying opportunities and threats SMEs may face while they intend to adopt advanced technologies, and providing appropriate industrial policy recommendations.
To clarify, traditional and tech-savvy SMEs are defined as follows:
a) Traditional SMEs are those SMEs that have not yet adopted new technologies and need to adapt to changed value-chains and demand. In this project, we aim to focus on those traditional SMEs that are part of a cluster organisation and intent to improve their business competitiveness by adopting new technologies.
b) Tech-savvy SMEs are EU companies with innovative business models that develop, produce and commercialise advanced technology products and applications. Their business solutions inject high-tech power and smart, evidence-based business management to more traditional SMEs, thus providing them significant competitive advantages. (An example of a potential list of tech-savvy SMEs can be found on the report "Artificial Intelligence. Critical industrial applications: report on a market analysis of prioritised value chains, the most critical AI applications and the conditions for AI rollout")
The total budget earmarked for the co-financing of projects is estimated at €5 000 000. The maximum grant per project will be between €2 000 000 and €3 000 000. Meanwhile the reasonable duration of the projects is envisioned to be 24 months.