DIGITALIS was created as a partnership between Flemish leading digitizing not-for-profit organisations as an answer to the Flemish, Belgian and European call for the development of European Digital Innovation Hubs as part of the European activities Shaping Europe’s digital future. The collaboration of the partners started well before 2020 (!!), but collectively responded to the Flemish call for preselection and finally responded to the Digital Europe EDIH call in 2021-2022. June 20th, the selection for the initial EDIHs was made for 122 proposal which were expected to start as from November 2022. In Belgium, there are EDIHs in the three regions, of which DIGITALIS is one of the Flemish EDIHs.
European Digital Innovation Hubs (EDIHs) are one-stop shops supporting companies to respond to digital challenges and become more competitive.
By providing access to technical expertise and testing, as well as the possibility to ‘test before invest’, EDIHs support companies to improve business/production processes, products, or services using digital technologies. They also provide innovation services, such as financing advice, training, and skills development that are central to successful digital transformation. Environmental issues are also taken into account, in particular with regard to the use of digital technologies for sustainability and circularity.
The European Digital Innovation Hub DIGITALIS aims to help both groups of industrial companies. Traditional SMEs with the adoption of new digital technologies and tech-savvy SMEs with connecting them in building up a competitive advantage in the globalized marketplace. Through our “ecosystem” service we will also bring together both groups of SMEs in order to create a marketplace for digital solutions and let the traditional SMEs learn from their peers. The goal of DIGITALIS is to primarily help Flemish end user manufacturing SMEs in their digital and green transition. Although the prime focus is on SMEs we will also support bigger companies when applicable and especially when a connection can be made with an SME.The prime objectives are:
- Increase the uptake of digital technologies on the shop-floor of manufacturing SMEs
- Increase the level of digital skills on the shop-floor
- Play an active role in the European network of Digital Innovation Hubs
- Actively contribute to the European Green Deal goals
DIGITALIS thus aims to act as a “one-stop shop” for manufacturing companies that want to digitize their products and processes. Our embedding in the regional as well as the European innovation landscape paves the way to provide the best available service to the SMEs. Although the focus of the EDIH is very clearly on the industry, several concepts, methodologies, and tools may also be relevant to public authorities.
The main objectives of DIGITALIS address the core elements of the call for a network of European Digital Innovation Hubs. We will support the digital transformation of EU industrial ecosystems, increase the level of industrial digitalisation, upskill the workforce and reinforce critical digital capacities. DIGITALIS will form the “gateway” to a set of services, technologies and knowledge which are necessary for this digital transition and will play an active role in the European network of EDIHs. We will thus actively support the deployment of digital technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and Cybersecurity, which are the focus of the hub.