SMEs (or MKB in Dutch) play a key role in Dutch society
They provide more than 60% of added value and more than 70% of employment in business (SME action plan report of 2019). It is EZK’s aim to help them see the benefits of adopting digital means to increase their productivity.
For many entrepreneurs digitalization is a big step
This is especially the case for small businesses. It is difficult for these entrepreneurs to translate innovative technologies into applications for their business, as they cannot envision the benefits for their productivity that such improvements can deliver. They simply lack the time, knowledge, skills and budget to dive into this. Inviting IT specialists or training their staff is not an option for most due to its excessive cost. The majority of SMEs is busy with day-to-day tasks with no time to even look into the possibilities.
The Acceleration of the Digitalization of SMEs program
Part of this program is the public-private partnership SME Workplace. This is a joint force of educational institutions, (regional) governments and the business community helping small and medium-sized businesses innovate in the field of automation, data analysis, online marketing, and sales. In SME Workplaces, college students from MBO, HBO and WO assist the entrepreneur in solving digitalization issues on these topics. The program yielded great results and helped SMEs increase their sales with practical applications over the course of 6-8 weeks.
Matching digital solutions to SMEs
The next step would be to match digital solutions (either created during the SME Workplace or new innovations) with the SMEs. Digital solutions providers often do not consider marketing to SMEs, despite having the right solutions available for other segments. Bringing these solutions to SMEs could unlock more revenue for digital solutions providers and at the same time help SMEs increase their productivity.
What are we looking for?
EZK is looking for ways to understand what kind of solutions non-innovative SMEs need (2-50 FTE, non-innovative for longer than 3 years) and match these solutions with the right digital providers that already have the solutions or – knowing what needs to be developed and why – can develop new ones.
What are we not looking for?
We are not looking for a solution that excludes third parties, instead, we would like to have a solution that is open for others to collaborate on.
What is the impact?
Our goal is to help the entire target group of 140,000 SMEs to increase their productivity by 2021 and connect demand and supply in a better way.