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227 innovation hubs are ready for Europe’s digital transformation

“Digital transformation is essential for European businesses,” said Thierry Breton, European Commissioner for the Internal Market
(photo: Lukasz Kobus / EU)

The first summit of The network of European Digital Innovation Hubs (EDHI) gathered last week in Brussels over 400 participants with the common goal of promoting Europe’s digital transformation.

Supported by the Digital Transformation Accelerator (DTC), over 200 digital innovation hubs from 30 countries across Europe connected and shared knowledge during the forum. ECIH representatives, decision-makers and experts from the digital transformation community shared experiences and best practices on how to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) achieve their digital goals.

The network of European Digital Innovation Hubs, co-financed by the Digital Europe Programme, delivers the latest technologies, incl. artificial intelligence (AI), cyber security, high performance computing and modern digital skills. The main objective is to increase the capacity of SMEs and the public sector by helping them integrate these technologies into their products and services.

Taking into account that every region of the European Union (EU) is supported by at least one local ECIH, the centers of the Network become the main actors in the regional innovation ecosystem. For example, Italy has allocated around 33.5 million euros to co-finance the ECCI. The Irish Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment runs the local ECIH program through Enterprise Ireland, aiming to support over 9,000 companies.

“Digital transformation is essential for European businesses; it can increase efficiency and reduce energy consumption”, explained Thierry Breton, European Commissioner for the Internal Market.

“Together with EU Member States, we will work on digital policies and help SMEs to advance technology and develop the connectivity and security of the EU’s digital infrastructures. These goals will help us achieve a safer, more sustainable, more competitive and more efficient digital environment,” he added.

To encourage SMEs to embrace digital transformation and provide them with effective support, the ECIH Network has adopted a communication style that resonates with their unique perspectives. By understanding and speaking “their language”, the Network creates an accessible environment that fosters collaboration and building trust.

In addition, the ECIH Network takes into account the different levels of digital maturity of enterprises, ensuring that it adapts its approach to their specific needs.

In the framework of the Digital Europe Programme, under which €7.5 billion has been allocated and which is the first dedicated EU initiative for digital transformation, the European Commission is accelerating the process by providing co-financing for R&D and implementation of the most -new technologies from 2021 to 2027

The main objective of the ECIH Network is to help achieve the 2030 objectives of the Digital Decade for Europe Program by:

  • accelerating the digital transformation of the private and public sector across the European Union by promoting the adoption of modern digital technologies – the aim is to make 75% of EU companies cloud/artificial intelligence (AI)/big data users );
  • ensuring that at least 90% of EU vehicles have at least a basic level of digital maturity;
  • creating new European value chains.

ECECs offer a range of valuable services such as ‘testing before investing’, training and skills development, assistance in securing investment, promoting networking opportunities and facilitating access to innovation ecosystems.

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