About this good practice
COVID-19 disrupted traditional business activities and increased the importance of e-commerce and new business models. A lot of businesses in Lithuania, including those from the transport sector, were not ready in advance for these events, as their business digitisation level was insufficient.
Therefore, the Ministry of Economy and Innovation launched a support measure E-commerce model COVID-19 dedicated to support business digitisation, particularly in the field of e-commerce.
Eligible applicants for this measure were micro, small and medium-sized enterprises. Supported activities included deployment of e-commerce models in SMEs through process re-engineering and digitalisation via: a) customer self-service solutions on e-commerce platforms for products and services, including manufacturing and service order management solutions, and/or); b) solutions for the integration of a resource management system into e-commerce platforms for products and services. For one applicant, the maximum amount of funding was €50,000. Businesses from a wide range of economic sectors could benefit from this support instrument.
A total funding for the measure was €40 million. Lithuanian Business Support Agency administrated this measure and their experts evaluated potential applicants.
Evidence of success
A total of 1685 companies applied for the financial support, of which 1192 received funding. Many of the companies were related to transport sector, either transport or logistics, or transport related services and manufacturing. In total, €47 million were provided for businesses.
Potential for learning or transfer
Traditional business activities have been highly disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, therefore businesses were not able to continue their day-to-day operations. During the pandemic, opportunities for business-to-business cooperation and business-to-customer/supplier relationships were particularly severely affected. As a result, it has become crucial for companies to digitise their business methods and models in regards to their clients and partners. E-commerce became increasingly important for businesses to become more integrated and resilient, therefore this support measure is a good example how governmental support can incentivize this process. In general, e-commerce and related business activities will become business-as-usual model rather than a competitive advantage, therefore the development of similar support measures in other regions could help the development of local businesses.