Cross-Border Digital Opportunities for SMEs

in BDF Events, News

On 22nd September, Baltic Development Forum and Region Zealand organised a digitization seminar in Hamburg as part of the Fehmarnbelt Days 2016, a series of events focusing on the cross border collaboration opportunities in the upcoming Fehmarnbelt Region which extends through North Germany – Denmark – South Sweden.

The main part of the seminar, “Cross-border digital opportunities in the Fehmarnbelt Region”, was a panel debate on how SME’s and digital start-ups can benefit from transnational contacts and exchange of best practice within digitalisation. A panel of business representatives discussed how the German Industry 4.0 strategy could be applied by SMEs and what kind if policy action is needed.

In Germany almost half of all industrial companies have not yet analysed the implications of the 4.0 agenda and there seems to be a gap from vision to reality. An improved digital infrastructure, more focus on staff qualifications and bottom up initiatives from companies to complement top down government initiatives could go hand in hand with cross-border learnings between Danish and German companies.

In Denmark there seems to be a paradox between advanced e-government initiatives for citizens and the fact that only few work processes in enterprises are digitised. Many companies don’t have the necessary resources, time, skills or overview, they don’t know where to start. The 4.0 agenda should be accelerated.

Digitalisation should go hand in hand with innovation where SME’s are brought together with not only SME’s in neighboring countries but also researchers, students, technology and open data. More matchmaking across the border is developing in the Fehmarnbelt Region could showcase the good examples. These could also include exchange on how open data can create new business models.

Panelists were: Clemens Otte, German Confederation of Industries/BDI, Robert Peter Perz, Vaeksthus Zealand, Lars Rasmussen, Danish Business Authority and Svend Erik Kundby-Nielsen, SWIPX.COM. The seminar was moderated by Reiner Perau, Danish-German Chamber of Commerce and framed by Peter Madsen, Region Zealand and Torben Aaberg, BDF.