The secret of your company's digital transformation: Accessing European funds
Updated: Apr 23, 2021
In our previous articles, we have explained what digital transformation means and how it can revolutionize your business. We have also shown the three main guaranteed effects of outsourcing IT services and have encouraged businesses in different business areas to take the necessary steps to adapt to the needs of modern society, which are decisively influenced by new technologies.
Nowadays, information and communication technologies are taking their toll on everyday life and the professional sector as well.
The business environment recognizes the IT implications in the business, but there is something else we need to admit: there is still a significant gap between what happens in our country and how things look abroad. Moreover, in 2020 the European Commission published a ranking of digitization in the EU Member States. Out of the 28 States, Romania ranks 26 – a clear sign that our efforts are not yet focused sufficiently. What can be done to catch up the gap?
If you are an entrepreneur, there are good chances that you have already, to some extent, faced the challenge of updating your way of working to the new conditions generated by the pandemic and, in general, keeping up with the pressures imposed by competitors or growing expectations of customers. This is no longer possible today without digitization.
In addition, if you came to the same conclusion yourself, but worry about the investment needed, here is a solution that is waiting to be used: accessing European money. Read on and learn everything you need to know about the digital transformation of your company with the help of European funds.
The first thing to know is that there is a national program for the digitization of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises: the digitization of SMEs.
Managed by the Ministry of European Funds, in collaboration with the Authority for the digitization of Romania, this is a program such as the POC (Operational competitiveness Program) and allows the acquisition of financing between 100.000 and 30.000 euros. The good news is that up to 90% of the amount of this financing represent non-reimbursable funds. Therefore, with an own contribution of only 10% of the project value, the beneficiary firms have the opportunity to make the digital transformation much needed with the view to expanding the client portfolio and optimizing the entire activity.
Another encouraging aspect is the diversity of eligible initiatives and projects: from purchasing a company presentation website (including the acquisition of a domain and hosting on a server), to digitizing all documents in a company archive or acquiring it solutions for e-commerce and other software automation solutions.
Whether you need specific devices and equipment, licenses, applications or other IT products and services required in your business, you would need to set the purpose of the project for which you may request the financing, to estimate correctly the value of the project and to prepare carefully the related documentation. At the next stage, if your project is not selected, you have the right to challenge, and if you pass the selection stage, you must prepare for the actual implementation of the project, but also for a monitoring and control phase, as well as for one of promoting the results achieved.
In other words, for SMEs, accessing European funds is the opportunity for digitization. If there is openness to such an initiative in your organization, it is good to know that a firm applying for funding must meet a number of conditions, such as:
they have not received public financial support in the last 5 years,e îl depune
have its registered office and implement the project in the development area it is submitting,
provide from its own sources a co-financing of at least 10% of the total budget of the project,
have made profits in the previous fiscal year,
not to have debts to the state budget and not to be in insolvency, bankruptcy or legal reorganization,
not be legally represented by a person convicted by final judgment in the last 3 years,
not operate in any of the sectors excluded from funding (gambling, pornography or other activities contrary to good morals, public order or breach of applicable legal provisions).
Once the eligibility conditions have been met, the firm interested in receiving support from European funds will submit the application using an electronic application, together with all the annexes mentioned in the Guide for applicants.
The necessary documentation is extensive and covers, in addition to drawing up the request for financing and the statements complementary to this request, documents certifying the conditions of the land and building used by the firm, documents reflecting the firm's accounts and other documents of its own. While the complexity of the whole process could discourage small entrepreneurs and even firms with a well-strengthened market status, it is not mandatory to do all of this on their own. An inspired decision could be to contract an experienced partner in accessing European funds.
This approach would save you valuable time, gain greater clarity of steps to take, anticipate and resolve potential challenges.
WeMakeITeasy is the team of IT specialists who can advise you regarding both the project design stage and the digital transformation itself. A project to digitize your company through European funding could be your most ambitious plan to date and the most relevant step to take your business to the next level.
What do you say? Is it worth the effort?