Time to get yourself funding for digitisation and skills transfers!
3/13/2024 Experts Know-how

Time to get yourself funding for digitisation and skills transfers!

Germany’s federal and state governments, as well as the EU, are offering support programmes to fund digitisation projects. Do you know what options you have available to finance innovation? Or could you be missing out on a lot of funding from digitisation assistance programmes?

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Germany’s federal and state governments, as well as the EU, are offering support programmes to fund digitisation projects. Do you know what options you have available to finance innovation? Or could you be missing out on a lot of funding from digitisation assistance programmes?

Find out here which programmes might be available to support digitisation at your company, what innovation efforts the government is financing for all aspects of digitisation, and how you can apply successfully for that funding.

In recent years it’s become clear that Germany has a great many digital deficiencies. For example, often crafts businesses aren’t able to exchange data automatically with clients and planners or suppliers, either because the data weren’t recorded in the first place or because incompatible systems aren’t able to exchange or analyse them.

Modern planning and operations models like Building Information Modelling (BIM), as well as government building departments’ automated review and permitting procedures, not to mention the obligation to maintain digital documentation, are rapidly going to become more widespread, especially in the construction sector. Everyone involved here – even down to small subcontractors – is inescapably going to have to go digital.

 

Put digitisation assistance to good use!

Businesspeople who are willing to innovate can make use of public funding to modernise their companies in digital ways. Options include low-interest loans, as well as grants. Most of the time, government agencies work through banks as lead partners in carrying out their financial support programmes.

You apply either through your own regular bank, or through independent corporate consultants accredited to the supporting agency. These consultants will then work together with the applicant to prepare the application.

Business organisations like the Chambers of Crafts and Trades also offer consulting about assistance. In some cases, it may also be possible to combine multiple support options.

 

Anything that can be digitised is eligible for assistance!

Anything (almost) is eligible for assistance, from industry software to hardware like servers, notebooks, and tablets, as well as marketing strategies, employee training courses, web shops, and more. So the only real question is not what can be assisted, but how you can access the relevant funding.

Of course any business can apply on its own. But to do that you’ll need a comprehensive knowledge of the “assistance jungle.” Most of the time, it’s worth bringing in an outside consultant who knows exactly which assistance programmes are the best fit for a business’s innovation plans. There are also programmes that provide support for this consulting.

Applications for assistance can’t be filled out free-form. Each programme calls for a different application. Some are relatively easy to submit; others require a fully developed digitisation project plan right at the time of application. Here again, it’s a good idea to find out the right information and be properly advised in advance, so that you don’t make formal mistakes on the application that can result in a rejection.

 

You can even get support to hire consultants!

For digitisation projects, support is often also available for consulting services and projects for further training and know-how transfers. Consulting provides a know-how transfer on a variety of topics. To take just one example: If a crafts firm is no longer satisfied with its specialised software because the software can’t measure up to current requirements, a consultant can provide a selection of suitable solutions for the company. That already represents important added value for the company in navigating through the software jungle.

Depending on the assistance programme, there are differences in the scope of consulting services that qualify for support. The Federal Office of Economics and Export Control (BAFA) has programmes to assist corporate know-how. For those programmes, as well as for Go-digital, the obstacles for financed consulting are manageable from the expert’s viewpoint. As a rule, you’ll need to provide information about the current status of digitisation at your company, and what the objective of your digitisation project is.

When it comes to assistance for IT technology itself, you’ll need to look closely at the details. For instance, just procuring a replacement is not a possibility. A case in point: Assume that old tablets already being used by mobile installers need to be replaced with new iPads. As a rule, that plan would not be eligible for assistance, because under the terms of most assistance programmes, this would count as procuring a replacement. Each programme has its own emphases and its own requirements for assistance. And that can sometimes make the details a bit tricky.

 

Get your assistance before the sources go dry!

Most assistance programmes are reviewed every other year to see whether they should be extended, or whether something should be revised. A programme might then be discontinued, or changed in such a way that it’s no longer a good fit. And sometimes the provided funding is used up before the programme expires. So to keep from missing the next round, stay on the ball, and keep informed!

At the PRACTICAL GUIDE TO DIGITISATION Forum included as part of FENSTERBAU FRONTALE + HOLZ-HANDWERK 2024, you’ll find out in expert interviews how digitisation funding works, and specifically what’s involved.

For information on the topics of all the practical interviews and discussions, including the times and information on the participants, consult the event schedule for the PRACTICAL GUIDE TO DIGITISATION Forum being held from 19 to 22 March 2024.

Author

Portrait of Jasmin McNally

Jasmin McNally

NürnbergMesse GmbH