The Network’s core goal is to boost the capacities of SMEs and the public sector by integrating these technologies into their products and services
The first summit of the European Digital Innovation Hubs (EDIH) Network, which brought together more than 400 participants who share the goal of promoting digital transformation across Europe, concluded successfully last week (31 May–1 June) in Brussels.
Supported by the Digital Transformation Accelerator (DTA), the event presented an opportunity for over 200 digital innovation hubs from 30 countries across Europe to connect and share knowledge. EDIH representatives, decision-makers, and experts from the digital transformation community exchanged their experiences and best practices on how to best help SMEs achieve their digital goals.
The EDIH Network, co-funded by the Digital Europe Programme, delivers cutting-edge technologies including artificial intelligence (AI), cybersecurity, high-performance computing and advanced digital skills. The aim at its core is to boost the capacities of SMEs and the public sector by helping them integrate these technologies into their products and services. With every EU region supported by at least one local EDIH, the Network’s hubs also become major players in the regional innovation ecosystem. Italy, for instance, has allocated about EUR 33.5 million to co-finance the EDIHs. Ireland’s Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment is spearheading the local EDIH programme through Enterprise Ireland with the objective of assisting more than 9,000 companies.
‘Digital transformation is essential for European businesses; it can increase efficiency and reduce energy consumption,’ explained Thierry Breton, European Commissioner for Internal Market.
‘Together with EU Member States, we will work on digital policies, helping SMEs to improve technologies and advance the EU’s connectivity and secure digital infrastructures. These targets will help us achieve our objectives for a safer, sustainable, more competitive and efficient digital environment,’ he continued.
To inspire SMEs to embrace digital transformation and provide them with effective support, the EDIH Network adopts a communication style that resonates with their unique perspectives. By understanding and speaking their language, it creates an accessible environment that encourages cooperation and fosters trust. Additionally, the EDIH Network recognises the varying levels of digital maturity among enterprises, ensuring that it tailors its approach to address their specific needs.
Under the EUR 7.5 billion Digital Europe Programme, which marks the EU’s first dedicated initiative for digital transformation, the European Commission is expediting the process by providing co-financing for the research, development and implementation of cutting-edge technologies from 2021 to 2027.
The EDIH Network: an overview
The European Commission (EC) actively supports the acceleration of the digital transformation of Europe’s economy and society with the European Digital Innovation Hubs (EDIH) Network. An EDIH can be a single entity or a coordinated group of entities with complementary expertise. Their not-for-profit objective is to support (on a large scale) the digital transformation of companies, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and small mid-caps, and/or public sector organisations conducting non-economic activities. EDIHs offer a range of valuable services, such as ‘test before invest’, training and skills development, assistance in securing investments, fostering networking opportunities and facilitating access to innovation ecosystems.
An overarching goal of the EDIH network is to support the achievement of the EU’s Digital Decade 2030 targets by:
- Accelerating the digital transformation of the private and public sector across the European Union by driving the uptake of advanced digital technologies – target to transform 75% of EU companies into Cloud/AI/Big Data users;
- Ensuring that 90% of SMEs in the EU have at least a basic level of digital maturity;
- Creating new European value chains.