In March 2021, the Policy Learning Platform organised an online peer review to assist the Hessen Ministry of Economics, Energy, Transport and Housing (HMWEVW) in its policy challenge. 

The host’s main policy challenges and peers’ suggestions can be found in the peer review follow-up report.

What was it about? 

The Ministry submitted a peer review request to receive expert advice on supporting SMEs in mastering the digital transformation and in particular, how to engage in digital capacity building processes.

The aim of this two-day online event was to:

  • understand the most prominent needs of SMEs for the transformation,
  • understand which types of support to SMEs is offered in other regions with this respect,
  • identify if there are any missing pieces in the current Hessen SME digital transformation support landscape, especially in terms of consulting offers,
  • explore ways to address jointly technology uptake and captivity building / skills development issues in SMEs.

Peers from across Europe

The following peers were invited and participated to the peer review: 

  • Alo Lilles, Tartu City Government (Estonia),       
  • Ana Isabel Vitórica Leoz, Basque Government (Spain),        
  • Jorge Muyo, Regional Government of Cantabria (Spain),
  • Peter Keller, Ministry of Finance (Hungary),
  • Zoltán Bendo, Expert for the INNO PROVEMENT project (Hungary), 
  • Helena Deane, Galway County (Ireland).

Alongside Luc Schmerber and Mart Veliste, our SME competitiveness thematic experts, they shared various good practices, relevant experiences, and policy advice to the host.


In taking up the recommendations, Hessen will initially focus on ways of enriching existing support schemes and explore:

  • how to better interlink the different services and grants available to SMEs,
  • whether some of the services implied in the Skillnets programme (Ireland) can be integrated in the existing Hessen Continuing Education Database & Platform,
  • how existing consulting offers can be better interlinked, including intensified cooperation with the House of Digital Transformation as part of the "Houses of" innovation strategy of the State of Hessen,
  • how the insights gained on the need to create individualised, tailor-made offers to companies of different sizes, from different sectors and with different digital maturity degrees may be used for fine-tuning the “DIGI” support scheme ecosystem (DIGI-Check, DIGI-Consulting, DIGI-Grant),
  • which offers are missing, especially looking at companies new to digitisation (e.g., offering more early information and guidelines on the chances of digitisation and basic topics like business models,
  • IoT, etc.).

Discover more insights and suggestions from the peer review in the follow-up report.

Peer review application

Are you interested in a peer review for your region? Watch the words of welcome by Dr. Philipp Nimmermann, State Secretary at the Ministry for Economic Affairs, Energy, Transport and Housing - State of Hessen and submit your application!