For two days, 26th&27th of January, hundreds of representatives of Digital Innovation Hubs from all over Europe watched the online sessions of the international event "EDIH Gearing up towards European Digital Innovation Hubs", the first international conference dedicated to European DIHs.
Bianca Muntean, coordinator of Transilvania Digital Innovation Hub, Cluj-Napoca, Romania, participated as a guest in the plenary “Championing SMEs to digitalize, innovate and grow”, during the first day of the European conference, together with important stakeholders including: Mario Grotz, Ministry of the Economy - Luxembourg, Prof. Kristina Sinemus, Minister for Digital Strategy and Development - Hessen and Sebastiano Toffalleti, Head of European Digital SME Alliance - in a discussion moderated by Anne-Marie Sassen, Head of Unit DG Connect, Digital Transformation of industrial ecosystems.
This session provided an overview of public support to ensure an innovative framework for SMEs to digitalise, through European Digital Innovation Hubs.
The guests of this panel, attended by over 1500 people, pointed out important aspects about the role of DIHs in the regions they come from.
„Europe has to be more on the front running and this especially in innovation. I think that SMEs are key in the future to be resilient after the crisis. We have our own program in Hessen which takes place in my Ministry and it refers to specific investment in digital transformation activities of SMEs who can overcome this crisis.” said Prof. Kristina Sinemus, Minister for Digital Strategy and Development - Hessen
„In Luxemburg we need to make some effort in the integration of digital technologies in our industries, this is the weakest point and in this respect we really need to help the companies to innovate with the new digital technologies, AI, IoT, HPC etc. This is a very strong focus on our innovation strategy that we really need to help the companies to experiment. And in that respect a Digital Innovation Hub is a key element of our strategy. We consider the DIHs as a platform connecting the needs of the industries with the services offered by our national ecosystem, but not only our national ecosystem, also services and providers coming from all over Europe.” , said Mario Grotz Ministry of the Economy - Luxembourg
„We think that this role of having the coordination of the digital transformation processes all over Europe is important, because we see a lot of EU initiatives, national and regional ones. Romania is currently ranking 26 out of 28 countries in the EU and only 8% of the SMEs are benefiting from the digital transformation for their activity. So this role which we will play as a European Digital Innovation Hub will be crucial in order to empower the SMEs, in order to educate them and to offer them access to different types of resources from all over Europe and also the access to the knowledge exsting in the EDIHs. Because we saw also with this pandemic crisis that digitalisation is a key element in creating competitive advantage for our SMEs. We will work together with our regional, national and European partners in order to make this digital transformation possible even for the Romanian SMEs which have a lot of places to grow from. Our role as a DIH will not stop when the SMEs will adopt these new technologies. We will put our efforts in order to support our SMEs to scale-up.”, said Bianca Muntean, Transilvania DIH coodinator
Bianca Muntean also spoke about Transilvania Digital Innovation Hub and its strengths:
„We’ve been working some time in putting together a set of competences and capabilities as a cluster. Our work as a DIH came as a natural continuation of our work as a cluster. It is important to work within local, regional ecosystems. I think it is about ecosystems and not ego-systems and there is so much work to do for the benefit of the SMEs and we, as a cluster, we did nothing else than putting all the knowledge we gathered as a cluster in the past 8 years, in Transilvania DIH. We also had the very important support of our colleagues from the other clusters from different fields - agriculture, furniture, creative industries from the local public administration - Cluj-Napoca City Hall, a research institute and two important universities from Cluj-Napoca: Babeș Bolyai University and Technical University from Cluj.”
Transilvania DIH proudly represented Romania’s perspective from a DIH point of view, giving insides on the operations which will be runned within the future network of European Digital Innovation Hubs functioning under the Digital Europe Programme.