ŠAVŠ/TAČR Digital Czechia in a Digital Europe
Innovation Systems (VINNOVA). 12 The Czech Republic should follow in the same spirit and strive for the establishment of a center that would actively handle the commercialization and further promotion of innovative products that will be created within Czech SMEs or startups.
FINANCING AND SUPPORT OF DIGITALIZATION CHANGES
In addition to providing infrastructure, Germany provides numerous ways to finance or co-finance the digitalization of SMEs through several programs. Key programs include, for example, the Digitales Investitionsprogramm Mittelstand (Ref. Digital Investment Program for SMEs), which provided €1 billion in 2018 alone. At the same time, this program aimed primarily at developing and expanding existing programs. 13 Zentrale Innovationsprogramm Mittelstand (Ref. Centrally Innovation Program for SMEs) is a nationwide funding project in which mainly medium-sized companies and research institutions connected to them can apply for grants for projects that lead to new products, new technical services or a more efficient production process. SMEs can apply for individual projects, cooperative projects and cross-border projects. 14 Logistically, this project, like the vast majority of other projects of this nature, is managed centrally by the German Ministry of Economics and Energy. Efforts to centrally coordinate the financing of public projects that support the digitalization of SMEs should also be supported within the Czech Republic, as it ensures a relatively high degree of efficiency and systematization. A specific program is the Go-Digital Project, in which Germany has authorized several (in the order of hundreds) consulting companies 15 in digitalization. SMEs have the opportunity to contact and cooperate with these consulting companies, i.e. they can apply for a grant together, while almost all matters related to filling in applications, forms or delivering financial documents are taken over by authorized companies, so that the bureaucratic burden on SMEs is as low as possible. 16 On the other hand, the possibility of obtaining support is limited. Thematically, the Go-Digital Project focuses primarily on the digitalization of 12 VINNOVA – Sweden, Taftie The European Network for Innovation Agencies, see https://taftie.org/ content/vinnova-sweden. 13 Digital Strategy 2025, Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy, see https://www.de.digital/ DIGITAL/Redaktion/EN/Publikation/digital-strategy-2025.pdf?__blob=publicationFile&v=9. 14 About ZIM, Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy, see https://www.zim.de/ZIM/Navigation/ DE/Infothek/UeberZIM/ueber-zim.html. 15 For a complete list of companies see https://www.innovation-beratung-foerderung.de/INNO/Redaktion/ DE/Downloads/Unterlagen-go-digital/go-digital_liste-autorisierter-beratungsunternehmen. pdf?__ blob=publicationFile&v=88. 16 Frequently asked questions about the funding program “go-digital”, Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy, see https://www.bmwi.de/Redaktion/DE/FAQ/go-digital/faq-go-digital.html.
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