The question of how people in Germany want to live in the future is shaped to a significant extent by widespread digitisation. Production and work processes are becoming digitised, leading to the development of new value-added potential and business models. But many small to medium-sized enterprises (SME) in particular do not yet recognise the potential and risks that digitisation brings to their own operations.
The ‘Digital Agenda’ and the ‘IT Summit’ include a large number of funding opportunities: since 2012, the ‘Digital SMEs – ICT Applications in Business’ funding priority has supported companies seeking to make intelligent use of modern information and communication technology (ICT) as a means of strengthening their competitiveness. In addition, the ‘SME – Innovation Drive for ICT’ funding measure aims to empower SMEs to deploy their entire innovation potential within top-level research. The ICT technical programme seeks to make this entire area of research funding more attractive at the same time.
At the DLR Project Management Agency, we provided support in all phases of implementing these funding measures, from design and execution to marketing of the project results. In this way, we make a contribution to promoting SMEs as important drivers of innovation while facilitating the transfer of scientific research results into business applications. Our ICT National Contact Point explicitly publicises the new funding areas and requirements, helps small to medium-sized enterprises find the right tender topics for their project ideas, and indicates which steps must be taken to ensure a successful project application.