Better access to innovative technology, skills and services for small and medium-sized companies from Bosnia and Herzegovina means building a favourable business environment for a technological transformation and ensuring better effectiveness of technology. The use of digital technology makes them more competitive in terms of business production, products and services.
For this reason, the project Innovation and Digitalisation in Small and Medium-sized Enterprises in Bosnia and Herzegovina/EU4DigitalSME that is co-financed by the European Union and the Federal Republic of Germany and implemented in Bosnia and Herzegovina aims to ensure a favourable environment for small and medium-sized enterprises in order to enable them to successfully implement digitalisation and innovation transformation.
In order to strengthen the ecosystem for innovation and digitalisation, we have supported the development of four digital innovation hubs. The project is strengthening their capacities to enable them to provide high-quality services to companies. This also includes the improvement of the political framework in order to provide small and medium-sized enterprises with an environment for the implementation of digital transformation concepts.
This is achieved through information campaigns about innovations and digitalisation, organisation of events, seminars and practical trainings, but also dissemination of best practices. The most important activities that have been implemented since the beginning of the project are listed below:
- The project supported the organisation of the Cyber Security Summit that was attended by more than 150 participants from companies and institutions and included more than 20 different presentations,
- Digital consultations were held for the purpose of offering trainings and mentorship regarding the use of IT solutions for improved business operations to representatives of small and medium-sized enterprises,
- Digital innovation hubs were presented during the Sarajevo Unlimited forum that involves innovation, technologies and entrepreneurship,
- A public call in the framework of which we provided 700,000 EUR for technological innovation partnerships was published,
- Together with the OECD, we implemented surveys about the offer and demand for business support services and presented key results,
- Study visits organised for the established digital innovation hubs enabled them to network with EU hubs and ensured their participation at the European Robotics Forum,
- We organised a series of trainings, workshops and webinars in order to ensure their continued existence and achieve the growth of companies during an economic crisis.
- In order to ensure the sustainability and ensure growth of companies during an economic crisis, a series of trainings, workshops and webinars were organised. One of them was also the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Document Management System (DMS).
Innovation and digitalisation ecosystem strengthening in April
In April, efforts regarding the reinforcing of the innovation and digitalisation ecosystem continued and the following events were organised:
- A three-day study visit for the first digital innovation hub in the medicine and biotechnology sector in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Its4Health Sarajevo, to DIHs in Rumania in order to strengthen the cooperation between digital innovation hubs from Bosnia and Herzegovina and the EU. The visit resulted in a partnership with the EU digital innovation hub Digital Innovation Zone (DIZ).
- A study visit for the first digital innovation hub in the robotics sector in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Industrial HUB Tuzla, to DIHs in Belgrade in order to strengthen the cooperation between hubs from Bosnia and Herzegovina and other European hubs. The host of the visit was Belgrade Robotics Hub (BRH) that entered into a cooperation agreement on this occasion.
- The first digital innovation hub in the field of digital innovation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Digital Storm Sarajevo, participated in the Technology and Robotics Fair Intek 2023 in Rumania, which was also the official beginning of cooperation with Future of Innovation and Technology (FIT) from Brașov.
- The workshop ”Use of Digital Technologies for Better Business Results” enabled 95 participants from 45 companies, 15 support institutions, 2 municipalities, 1 NGO and 2 freelancers to acquire know-how about digital technologies.
- Funding Bootcamp was a three-day training for digital innovation hubs. It was held by CIVITTA – a leading mangement consulting company from South East Europe. The training focused in particular on the Europe Horizon Programme and provided information about its financing lines. The participants learned key steps – starting from project preparation over project writing, to project management and implementation.
- Training entitled ”Strategic Planning: Analysis of Resources, Business Environment and Competition” was attended by 15 participants from 12 companies, 2 consultancy firms and public administration representatives. They acquired know-how they can apply directly in the process of digital transformation of their companies.
Over the coming months, efforts to strengthen the innovation and digitalisation ecosystem will continue. A hybrid event in Banja Luka will be organised in order to raise awareness of the importance of the ecosystem. In addition to this, we will organise a training for employees of ministries, publish a public call for the provision of services to SMEs and prepare stories showcasing the best practices for the public-at-large.
By working together on innovative business models and using digital transformation, we expect that 90 small and medium-sized enterprises will use at least 5 innovative services provided by digital innovation hubs, but also that the 5 established international research, development and innovation cooperation partnerships will apply 7 innovative activities in small and medium-sized enterprises by the end of the project.