Digital Innovation Hubs for small and medium-sized enterprises

Companies and the Federal Government are involved in the new EUR 3 million platform “fit4internet”

Digital Innovation Hubs for small and medium-sized enterprises

“Digital competence is the new basis for economy and society. Therefore, we must build this competence in companies, employees and in society,” said Digital and Economic Minister Margarete Schramböck in a press conference on December 3rd, together with RBI CEO Johann Strobl and Post-Director General Georg Pölzl.

Both companies are among the first members of the “fit4internet” association, which was founded on the initiative of the digitisation minister to strengthen digital competence in society. In a first step, seniors all over Austria will be trained.

In order to strengthen the know-how of small and medium-sized enterprises and to promote digital innovations, the ministry is making EUR 3 million available through the Digital Innovation Hubs. Particular attention is paid to future topics such as artificial intelligence (AI), security, blockchain and 3D printing.

“Digital transformation is more than technology, it is a change of way of working and qualification. Skilled workers have become a key growth issue for the economy. We can’t afford to leave the potential in the companies, so politics and companies have to build the digital skills of employees,” said Margarete Schramböck.

At the Austrian Post, no letter or parcel is delivered without IT any more. “Nearly all services are now digital,” emphasised Post-Director General Georg Pölzl. “Therefore, our claim must be that they can be used by all.”

The demand for IT specialists in Austria is 62 per cent, which is above the EU average (48 per cent). At the same time, 90 per cent of companies’ HR managers see a high demand for training in digital skills. The ministry is therefore using “digital pro bootcamps” on qualification networks to further educate employees of leading companies and SMEs in defined digital topics. EUR 1.4 million are initially available for the program; the deadline for submission is the 29th of March.