Grant programme addressed to the local retail and hospitality companies for the digitalization and implementation of ICTs in the city of San Sebastián.

DEVISE project partner Fomento San Sebastian (FSS) is the public municipal company dedicated to the promotion and eco-social development of the city. One of its objectives is to improve the competitiveness, also through “digitalization”, of local businesses in the retail/hospitality sectors. In this context, launched initiatives that aim to combine processes of digitalization with the concepts of Design, Creativity & Management.

Among these initiatives, DENDATICS, focuses on the support of these processes of tech transformation that allow companies to increase competitiveness through the use of ICTs. Retail/hospitality, traditional economic sectors in the city but with important impact in terms of economic weight and employment creation, are experiencing greatest difficulties in accessing tech knowledge.

It consists of economic grants addressed to local retail/hospitality companies for digitalization and ICT implementation, as a tool to generate new business opportunities and foster digitalization processes. They cover costs of tech/digital investments done for implementation of ICT solutions developed/designed by external providers. Approved requests are granted with a max. grant of €3,000 and the existing 3 categories of eligible tech/digital investments are funded generally at 80%.

Objectives: tech updating and digitalization of commercial activities; to improve use of ICTs; to increase quality of services provided; and, to improve client experience and business’ management efficiency.

Resources needed

a) Grants: initial budget devoted for annual call. (e.g., €50,000 in 2016 & 2017; and €110,000 in 2018). Final full cost can be modified/increased depending on the number of eligible applications received.

b) Human resources: administrative/expert internal staff for the management of the programme.

Evidence of success

Call 2018: 114 applications / 98 grants - €178,000 awarded.

Number of requests higher than expected. The program aims to help retail/hospitality companies to be more competitive, attract more customers, have more sales and to reduce management costs. Also, to be close to new tech scenario in which "investments in digitalization" should be more an opportunity than a burden.

Data direct impact 2018: 10% of granted companies, 7 in total, increased sales by 5% and, 2.7%, 3 in total, opened international markets.

Difficulties encountered

Some encountered challenges:

*Lack of tech knowledge and low level of education of the staff engaged (difficulty to connect with "digital training")

*Single-owner businesses, mostly (and low possibilities to engage new profiles with "technological skills")

*Businesses with no investments planned

Potential for learning or transfer

This programme is easily transferable at international level and it provides an interesting tool for public organizations to support local SMEs (retail and hospitality ones, but also in other sectors) that want to foster their digital transformation.

Internal resources within the public organization have to be allocated both from an economical point of view and also for the management process of this programme. 

Benefits of this programme are shared out among: 

  • the local retail and hospitality companies that aim to improve their competitiveness;
  • the digital tech companies that give their technological support;
  • the citizens and final clients that can have better services and client experience.

Discover more good practices shared by DEVISE project partners.