Industry 4.0 Voucher is a policy instrument to promote digital transformation in SMEs through the adoption of technologies and business models adaptation.
Most SMEs willing to promote digital transformation are lacking resources and specific know-how to adopt the suitable technologies that might contribute for disruptive business model innovations.

The Industry 4.0 Voucher policy instrument is implemented through a financial voucher of 7500€ that allow SMEs to fund the acquisition of consultancy services for diagnosis of suitable strategies for the organisation leading to the adoption of technologies and processes associated with Industry 4.0: digital channels for managing markets, channels, products, customer segments; UX; CRM and E-Commerce; electronic marketplaces; SEO; Social Media Marketing; Content Marketing; Display Advertising; Mobile Marketing; Web Analytics; interconnection systems; Sensors; big data; Augmented reality; additive manufacturing; IoT; Cloud; machine learning; IA; Cyber-physical systems; solutions for connectivity.SMEs must apply for the voucher with a project where they specify their needs and business goals that consultants must take in consideration when designing digital transformation strategy.

For consultants to provide technical assistance services to SMEs under Industry 4.0 vouchers, they must be accredited. The project evaluation process is simple and fast with several cut-offs along the year. The instrument implementation is operated by IAPMEI, the Portuguese agency for competitiveness and innovation, and the policy management is done by the managing authority of operational programs.

Resources needed

Each voucher has a unit value of 7500 EUR and represented a public investment of about 12M EUR to support more than 1500 companies. The funding comes from EFDR in the context of Regional Operational Programs and the Competitiveness and Internationalization Operational Program.

Evidence of success

Between 14th October 2018 and 30th June 2020, about 593 proposals will be supported representing 3.4M EUR for SMEs to support digital transformation.

Difficulties encountered

Implementation of a simple system for the evaluation process is challenging and most of times is difficult to implement; management of so many projects demands human resources availability.

Potential for learning or transfer

SMEs recognise the relevance of the instrument and the potential benefits involved when implementing technologies to stimulate digital transformation of traditional business models. It is felt that the application process is quick, simple and with low administrative paperload involved.

The accreditation process for service providers brings transparency and trustiness in the consultancy services. The practice can be easily transferred in terms of implementation process to reach the target beneficiaries.

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Main institution
Institute to Support Small and Medium Sized Companies (IAPMEI)
Lisboa, Portugal
Start Date
January 2017
End Date


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Good Practices being followed by

Susy Silva

Lisbon City Council

José Miguel Marques

COMPETE 2020 - Management Authority for the Competitiveness and Internacionality