The project “Innovation and digitization of small and medium-sized enterprises in Bosnia and Herzegovina”, which includes the EU4DigitalSME project, co-financed by the European Union, aims to create a favorable environment for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to successfully implement digitalization and innovation transformations. The “EU4DigitalSME” project is aimed at creating an enabling environment for SMEs to successfully undertake digitalisation and innovation transformations. Through better access to innovative technologies, skills and services across valuechains, the project supports the creation of a conducive business environment for technological transformation of SMEs in competitive sectors. This will result in an increased performance of companies, in particular SMEs, start-ups and mid-caps, to become more competitive with regard to their business production processes, products and services by using digital technologies. EU4DigitalSME, together with EBRD project “Go Digital in Bosnia and Herzegovina”, are part of the EU4SMEs programme for the digital transformation of SMEs. “EU4DigitalSME” project is worth 6.1 million EUR, of which the EU provided 5 million EUR and the Federal Republic of Germany 1.1 million EUR
The project will support the development of a more conducive operational framework for innovative business models and strengthen BiH capacities for collaborating on advanced technology solutions in the joint regional and EU projects, following the best EU practice, namely Digital Innovation Hubs(DIH). At the same time, it involves actors at the macro level in order to improve the overall framework conditions for the promotion of innovations and digitalisation of SMEs. It thus applies a multi-level approach and the project measures at various levels are designed to reinforce each other.
In addition to the support intended for the establishment and strengthening of DIHs as future providers of services for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the project will, for the purpose of comprehensive improvement of the so-called Ecosystem for innovation and digitization, act in two more areas:
- Political framework for SMEs, improvement of the political framework that would offer SMEs an environment in which it is possible to apply the concepts of digital transformation in BiH
- Strengthening the capacity of small and medium-sized enterprises in BiH so that they can apply digital technology
Activities and expected results
Raising the awareness and knowledge of small and medium-sized enterprises about the importance of innovation and digitalization
This area aims to improve the capacity of SMEs to implement appropriate innovations and digital solutions. Small and medium-sized enterprises will be sensitized to the opportunities offered by digitalization through an information campaign, and through sectoral dialogues at conferences and appropriate training formats, their knowledge of innovative solutions in the sector in which they work will be improved. The activities foreseen in this part of the project are as follows:
- Information campaigns on invasions and digitization through industry conferences
- Events to raise awareness of the importance of innovation and digitization
- Workshops/webinars on selected specific topics of innovation and digitization
- Practical trainings on specific topics of innovation/digitalization adapted to small and medium-sized enterprises from different/similar sectors
- Promotion of project activities and dissemination of best practices
- Preparation of a study with small and medium-sized enterprises from various industries
By end of project, the following results are expected:
Innovative services provided to SMEs by established DIHs
SMEs that will use the services provided by DIHs
Innovative activities applied in SMEs through RD&I
International RD&I collaboration partnerships established
Policy framework for the SME digital ecosystem
This intervention area will be pursued by enhancing the capacity of relevant stakeholders at different levels of government in creating favourable digitalisation and internationalisation environment and providing need-based business support services to SMEs. All relevant levels of government, public and private stakeholders will be engaged in setting up a coordinated and harmonised mechanism to provide SMEs with information and offering tailored know-how and support programmes for SMEs’ digitalisation. In addition, policy dialogue platforms will be created to help BiH to monitor the effects of increased digitalization on SMEs competitiveness, and to allow comparison of economies across the region and with the EU.
This intervention area is implemented in collaboration with OECD and includes the following specific groups of activities:
- Administrative capacity-building to line ministries and institutions at different levels of government and other relevant stakeholders for monitoring and evaluation of selected measures.
- A coordinated approach to support the internationalisation of SMEs, especially in the area of e-commerce, by supporting a coordinated and harmonised mechanism that includes all relevant levels of government, public and private stakeholders.
- Support to a needs and supply assessment of Business Support Services for SMEs, in particular in the area of SME digitalisation.
- Policy dialogue platforms for specific expertise and facilitating policy discussions on the priorities of BiH digitalisation and innovation policies related also to the EU industrial policy Strategy.
Expected results of these activities are:
Public servants trained on topics of SME digitalisation
Improved overall international score of BiH in the area of SME internationalisation
Increased number of SMEs/entrepreneurs in BiH benefit from publicly (co-)funded business support services
Policy dialogue platforms for SME digital ecosystem established