ŠAVŠ/TAČR Digital Czechia in a Digital Europe


the possibilities of digitalization for SMEs. 6 Instead of building a completely new support network in this respect, it would be appropriate to build on existing regional innovation centers (Innovation Centers, Technology Centers, BICs, etc.) and expand their portfolio centrally with interconnected programs to support the introduction of digitalization processes – such a procedure would be less costly and at the same time would make digitalization programs easier and faster to build on the already established network of contacts that these centers/workplaces have set up in their regions. This would also create a much more efficient way to end users, i.e. SMEs. With regard to building such a network, Germany has already made significant progress. Together with the “Mittelstand-Digital” (Digital SME) program, which has been identified as a priority for public funding, Germany has set up an extensive specialist network “Mittelstand 4.0 – Kompetenzzentren” (SME Competence Centers) – these provide free practical advice to local SMEs on the digitalization process. These SME competency centers individually help to evaluate the company’s digitalization efforts, create an optimal digitalization roadmap according to the specific needs of the company and support their implementation. At the same time, they also evaluate the extent to which the various technical/digitalization solutions are economically relevant to the company. In addition to this practical and consulting activities of the center, it serves as a marketing move, which has the idea of spreading digitalization among SMEs through organized workshops, demonstration events and training courses. 7 Beyond the above activities, each center has other levels of specialization that SMEs offer. These specializations include: 1) logistics, 2) processes, 3) business models, 4) labor 4.0, 5) legal issues, 6) IT security, 7) marketing, 8) production technology, 9) smart home, 10) development digital product, 11) mobility, 12) healthcare, 13) energy, 14) networked value chains and 15) ergonomics. 8 Usually, each competence center offers five of the above specializations.

6 The declaration of 2019 as the year of digital business by the Association of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises and Self-Employed Persons of the Czech Republic is undoubtedly a step in the right direction. 7 SMEs Digital Strategies for the Digital Transformation, Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, see https://www.bmwi.de/Redaktion/EN/Publikationen/Mittelstand/smes-digital-strategies -for- digital-transformation.pdf?__blob=publicationFile&v=3. 8 Mittelstand-Digital, Strategies for the Digital Transformation of Business Processes, Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, see https://www.bmwi.de/Redaktion/EN/Publikationen/Mittelstand/ mittelstand-digital.pdf?__blob=publicationFile&v=3.

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