Digitization: How to Benefit from Government Support

lesley rudolph

Lesley Rudolph

March 29, 2023 • 3 minutes read

Digitization. The topic that concerns every company to a certain degree. Because technological progress opens doors to new economic opportunities, business models, and more efficient work processes. Nothing new. Nevertheless, current studies show that the need for digitization is still significant in many - especially medium-sized - companies.

Digitalisierungsmaßnahmen KMU

Hence our input today: the "Digital Now - Investment Promotion for SMEs" funding programme to make it easier for small and medium-sized enterprises to implement digitalization!

The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection supports German SMEs with financial grants to invest in their digitization and qualification of their own employees. The funding includes a grant of up to 50 percent of the eligible costs, with up to a maximum of 50,000 euros per project.

This is how it works

  1. Online application: First you have to register your company in the funding portal and then submit the application form including digitization measures.
  2. This is followed by the funding check and approval.
  3. Then it's down to the nitty-gritty: you now go into implementation and realize the approved investments.
  4. SME proof of use: You then submit the proof of use form including a description of the investment measures carried out in the funding portal. This also includes proof of the invoiced expenditure and a confirmation of payment to the service provider.
  5. The final step: After the proof of use has been checked by the state, the audit report is issued and the grant is paid out to your company.

Requirements for the application

SMEs from all sectors (including craft businesses and freelance professions) with 3 to 499 employees can apply for funding. Digitization projects can range from investments in new hardware or software to employee training measures. Quite straightforward at first.

However, companies must also meet a few additional requirements. Firstly, the digitalization plan must

  • describe the overall digitalization measures,
  • explain the type & number of qualification measures,
  • show the current level of digitalization in the company & the goals that are to be achieved through the investment and
  • provide examples of how an increase in efficiency in the company is to be achieved, new business areas opened up, business models developed and/or the market position strengthened.

At this point, there are still a few minor details:

  • The investment must be made in a permanent establishment or branch in Germany.
  • The measures must not have begun at the time the funding is approved.
  • Following approval, the company has 12 months to implement the measures.
  • The use of the funding must be proven.

Goals of the funding program

The aim is to support SMEs with digitalization measures. More specifically, the government office wants to encourage SMEs to invest in both digital technologies and the know-how of their employees.

This should benefit cross-industry digitalization measures, business processes and the competitive and innovative capabilities of SMEs. In addition, employees should be empowered to recognize the opportunities of digitalization and also drive investments in the company.

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