EIT Manufacturing assisting SMEs in their digital transformation journey
Small enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of the Greek economy as widely said, but they are also facing several challenges in the current changing economic environment. These challenges include rising energy costs, inflation, lack of financial aid and supply chain disruptions.
To address these challenges, the Hellenic Confederation of Professionals Craftsmen and Merchants (GSEVEE) hosted a two-day event on September 22-23, 2023, called “Small Enterprises’ Challenges in a Changing Economic Environment.” The event was attended by many governmental stakeholders, politicians, the presidents of GSEVEE and the Athens Chamber of Tradesmen, along with representatives from the Bank of Greece, funds, and other governmental organizations and companies.
One of the panels at the event was called “Digital Transformation of Small Enterprises.” In this panel Dr. Niki Kousi, Director of EIT Manufacturing South East participated with other panelists including Mr. Antonio Grasso, Public Affairs Director at European DIGITAL SME Alliance, Mr. Giannis Kostis-Giannarakis, Managing Director at GR digiGOV-innoHUB (EDIH), and Mr. Pericles Terlixidis, Smart Attica Hub (EDIH).
Dr. Kousi emphasized the importance of digital transformation for SMEs in Greece. She said, “Digital transformation is essential for SMEs to remain competitive in the global marketplace. It can help them to improve their product/service offerings, their productivity, and competitiveness”. She presented some details of the ways EIT Manufacturing supports the Digital Transformation of companies up to today, but she also developed her thoughts on a successful innovation Project funded by EIT Manufacturing called “VR-Safe”, where digitization of some procedures helped partners of EIT Manufacturing develop a VR system for safety trainings along with some innovative tolls that assist this goal.
The other panelists discussed further the importance of digital transformation for SMEs and the challenges that SMEs, in various sectors, such as public administrative, health and so forth, face on implementing digital technologies. They also shared examples of how SMEs are using digital tools to improve their operations and grow their businesses.
The event “Small Enterprises’ Challenges in a Changing Economic Environment” was an important event for the ecosystem of Greece about SMEs, about financial aid, etc., and how EIT Manufacturing could fit in accelerating and assisting these companies to make innovative steps towards their production lines, to transform their infrastructure and promote digitalization. It was a valuable opportunity for SMEs to learn about the latest trends and challenges in the economic environment and to network with other businesses and government officials. It was also a good opportunity for EIT Manufacturing to showcase its programs and services for SMEs.