Module 2 "Regional Support Structure"
Module 2 “Regional Support Structure” consists of the development and implementation of a support-structure that is adapted to regional needs to improve the ICT-access and -usage of SMEs and Start-Ups in all involved regions of the project.
The development of this support structure to enhance the existing structures began in the first quarter of 2005, when most of the results of the interviews were available. Based on the interview-data a complete analysis of all regions was performed by the Norwegian partners according to the scientific method, followed by a regional analysis and classification done by the partners. The results were also presented and discussed during the partner meetings, and it was found “very helpful and interesting to compare their own regions’ results with the ones of other regions. Also it was found interesting by all project partners to get to know the challenges other regions are confronted with and the measures they have undertaken to improve their regional situation”.
Adding to the overall study the results of the interviews were considered in detail in all regions. That means the results of the total and/or regional survey were used as a basis for setting up action plans and for the development of strategies, training-measures and support-offers (partly including eLearning; tools were tested for example by the Belgians and Osterholz, see below), by which the competi-tiveness, economic and technological development of SMEs should be improved. Several measures were offered (see below).
In this phase the “deeper audits” of 30-50 enterprises per region belonging to the ones being interviewed before – were planned and carried out. There were different numbers of audits achieved in the regions (as a result of the feedback-mechanism).
In general the formation of a SME support-structure was done differently throughout the regions: In some regions there already exist networks (i.e. The Netherlands, Scotland), in others these had to be build up or enhanced (i.e. Norway, Denmark, Osterholz, Sweden). The support-offers created by the project for the SMEs have been:
Sweden: 4 services established by the project, including the “visiting computer teacher sub-project”;
Netherlands: ICT Innovation Centre;
WAK Schleswig-Holstein: weekly consultation days for enterprises established;
Norway: Helpdesk; “Arena Ryfylke” established; strong intermunicipal collaboration;
Scotland: candidates taken into the “system of advanced total business support”,
Osterholz: IT-hotline; SME support centre, pool of IT-experts.
Tailor-made trainings and workshops were discussed and established in all regions to develop solutions and training measures for SMEs as stated in the project application. The participation in training measures in some regions was good to very good (Scotland), while in others companies were more reluctant (Osterholz). eLearning was also discussed in some regions as a concrete answer to avoid or to reduce traffic by using ICT. By these measures support to SMEs was given during the audit-phase and by performance of training measures.
On the technical side of the support-structures new web based offers were installed and are ready to use.
In each of the partner regions a regional support structure has been installed, meeting the individual needs of the SMEs as they were identified during the survey phase.