Spain investing €4.5bn in SME digitalisation

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Digitization
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MADRID: The Spanish government will use part of the money from the European emergency fund to the digitalisation of nearly half the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Spain. Around 1.35million SMEs can count on an average investment of €3,000.

That could rise to one and a half million companies benefitting from the digitalisation project. The government is allocating more than €4.6billion for the so-called “Plan de Digitalización de Pymes 2021-2025“. The resulting investment would see at least 47% of Spanish SMEs digitalised.

In total, Spain has 2.87million small and medium-sized enterprises, which make up 99.8% of the manufacturing sector. That is why the government is allocating a portion of the EU recovery fund (a total of €150billion) into that sector.

Digital Toolkit

The digitalisation project consists of four elements. The first and most important is under the remit of the Ministry of Economic Affairs. A total of €3.1 billion for this project element will be broken down as follows. €3 billion will go towards necessary IT tools (‘Digital Toolkit’), €50 million for direct financial aid for digitalisation, €42 million to the improvement of companies’ cyber security and an additional €26 million will encourage companies to integrate ICT technologies into their production systems.

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Digital education

The second element is also under the leadership of Minister Nadia Calviño. A €656 million investment goes to training company management in digital management. In addition, the government aims to get more women into these positions and thereby reduce the digital divide. Part of the budget goes to digital training for young people. The remainder to contracting IT experts who will help realise the digital transition within companies.

Stimulation of entrepreneurship and attention to special sectors

The third element, with a €439 million budget will help stimulate entrepreneurship, whilst the final element focuses on the digitalisation of specific sectors such as industry (€38 million), tourism (€80 million) and commerce (€325 million).

According to data from the European Union, only 17% of Spanish SMEs have successfully integrated digital technologies into the business. This is in comparison to 54% of large Spanish companies. Only 19% of sales are made online.

“Traditional companies are still questionable about digitalisation strategies. They cannot use large databases to which large companies can access and they do not have advanced tools and applications based on artificial intelligence and are extremely vulnerable to cyber threats,” said the European Union.

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