Name of project: Smart SME’s
Project funding: Co-financed by the European Parliament through the Alpine Region Preparatory Action Fund (ARPAF)
Time frame: 1.8.2019 – 31.1.2021
Total cost: 233.588,89 €
The amount of co-financing: 210.230,00 €
UM FERI Coordinator: doc. dr. Aida Kamišalić Latifić
Project Coordinator: Schweizerische Arbeitsgemeinschaft für die Berggebiete – SAB
- Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science University of Maribor (Slovenia),
- Department for Economic Development, Research and Labour of the Autonomous Province of Trento (Italy),
- Hub Innovazione Trentino – Fondazione (Italy),
- Anteja ECG (Slovenia),
- ecoplus. The Business Agency of Lower Austria (Austria),
- BIOPRO Baden-Württemberg GmbH (Germany ).
The aim of the Smart SME’s project is to understand to what extent SME’s that produce, process and apply natural fibres use digitalization tools and approaches. The project will also evaluate obstacles that prevent SME’s from exploiting the full potential of digital solutions. An international consortium for the project has been formed, comprising Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science University of Maribor and partners from Italy, Lower Austria, Germany, Slovenia and Switzerland.
Every SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) routinely uses email addresses, but digitalization now offers enterprises a whole raft of solutions to make life easier and business more profitable – from electronic document management systems, promoting goods and services on social media to eCommerce and Big Data. Digitalization measures are only successful when company managers want and support them. SME’s, however, tend to have small management teams that are overwhelmed by other tasks, leaving them little time to identify and use the potential offered by digitalization. Businesses in rural areas have the additional problem of often unreliable internet connections.
The Smart SME’s project will contribute to finding solutions to overcome existing barriers. The project will be specifically focusing on enterprises in biobased value chains that produce, process and apply natural fibre-based materials, both cultivated and recycled from biological waste. The project is therefore tackling the idea of sustainable transformation in the Alpine region through the bioeconomy concept. This will involve gathering existing digitalization knowledge from research institutions, clusters, digital innovation hubs and other service providers, evaluating the digitalization level of SME’s, pinpointing issues that hamper the implementation of digitalization as well as demonstrating precise measures (technical and non-technical) to overcome existing barriers. Pilot cases will be developed for application in specific biobased value chains.