Centre for Financial Innovation

AUAS to help SMEs with digitalisation

26 Nov 2020 13:00 | HvA Expertisecentrum Applied Artificial Intelligence

State Secretary Mona Keijzer today signed thirteen deals for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Through these deals, her Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy is contributing over seven million euros to regional SME projects of provinces and municipalities. This gives businesses an incentive to innovate, digitalise and operate internationally. The Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS) is involved in two digitalisation deals; an important priority area within the AUAS.

The AUAS will help SMEs in the Greater Amsterdam (Groot-Amsterdam) and Gooi & Vechtstreek regions with digitalisation issues, cooperating under the two deals where possible. Many business owners want to and have to start working on digitalisation, but feel they are missing out on opportunities. For example, SMEs have difficulty adapting to certain shortages in the labour market, the emergence of digital and other platforms, sustainability, globalisation and, recently, COVID-19.

Digitalisation offensive for SMEs in the greater Amsterdam region

In the greater Amsterdam region, the AUAS Expertise Centre for Applied Artificial Intelligence and its partners have launched the SME Digitalisation Offensive. This project contributes to the knowledge and skills of business owners in terms of opportunities (use of data, online marketing, sales and automation), risks (safe business practice) and the use of digital tools.

With the digitalisation offensive, the consortium aims to reach at least 30,000 SMEs in Amsterdam to inform them of the opportunities and possibilities of digitalisation. At least 750 businesses will be offered a self-scan, after which they will be referred to various online training programmes in the field of digitalisation and data analysis, appropriate to the maturity level of their business. Using an online platform, SMEs will be linked to other SMEs that are already innovating and are able to share their knowledge. There will be intensive training and coaching programmes for SMEs that are intensively working on digitalisation. Through the expertise centre, the Centre for Market Insights, which focuses on retail and marketing, will help SMEs take the first steps towards digitalisation (including the development of the self-scan and online training programmes).

In addition to the AUAS, the consortium for the SME Digitalisation Offensive consists of MKB Amsterdam and Ready to Scale (led by The Start-up Network Foundation). The deal was initiated by the City of Amsterdam.

Digital and physical platform for SMEs in Gooi & Vechtstreek region

Under the other SME deal, the AUAS will digitally prepare SMEs in the Gooi & Vechtstreek region. The SPOT 035 project is organising a digital and physical platform for SMEs with digitalisation questions. At the Media Park in Hilversum, business owners will have access to a regional network of students, knowledge institutions and digital frontrunners (leading technology and media companies).

The online and physical platform provides information, helps draw up digitalisation strategies and supports business owners in the step towards realisation and financing. The AUAS has the lead at SPOT 035, because of its extensive experience in solving digital issues of businesses. It is also one of the ways in which the AUAS can put into practice its objective of helping businesses and professionals with transformation and qualification issues. The aim of the project is for more SMEs to start the digitalisation process, so that they have and maintain the right to exist and are able to grow or even set up new business.

For SPOT 035, the AUAS works closely with the Municipality of Hilversum, the Gooi & Vechtstreek region, BV Hilversum, MBO College Hilversum and Media Perspectives.