ŠAVŠ/TAČR Digital Czechia in a Digital Europe


business processes, digital market development and IT security – according to this focus, the above-mentioned consulting companies were also selected and authorized. Financially, Go-Digital grants operate on the basis of 50% co-financing, with the maximum possible daily rate for a consulting company being EUR 1,100, within a maximum of 30 days (i.e. real co-financing can only take place for 30 days), which must take place within six months of the approval of the grant. 17 It can be assumed that the financial constraints set in this way primarily try to eliminate fraud as effectively as fictitious reporting of services – under these conditions it is significantly more likely that SMEs will enter the program, which have a real effort to digitalize or update internal systems/software. Another advantage of the program set up in this way stems from Germany’s efforts to effectively link the public and private sectors in its digitalization efforts. Today and in the future, the public sector will most likely not have the expertise to provide digital advice to all interested SMEs individually. This is also one of the reasons why, in the process of digitalization of SMEs, the public sector should not only strive for ease access of these companies to capital but also to the greatest possible degree of involvement of private services (consulting, ICT security, etc.) specializing in the issues of digitalization and automation. By creating grant incentives along the lines of the Go-Digital Project, such a link between the public and private sectors could make a significant contribution. The Czech Republic needs to significantly catch up with regards to the infrastructure, financing instruments and advisory network described above. Nevertheless, this deficit has yet to have a significant effect on the competitiveness of Czech SMEs. It can be assumed that the main reason for this fact is the current favorable economic situation in which the Czech Republic finds itself. SMEs are not motivated to adopt new technologies and digitalization processes at a stage when there is a full demand for their services and competition for further contracts is thus relatively minimized. With the progressive slowdown of the Czech economy and the coming recession, SMEs will strive much more intensively for potential competitive advantages, increasing production efficiency and overall optimization of production and the provision of their services. In the coming years, the Czech Republic must systematically strive to create a similar advisory-digitalization network that will be able to support the efficiency of Czech SMEs in times of economic recession – the goal must be to create such a system before it happens. 17 Funding program “go-digital”, Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy, see https://www.bmwi. de/Redaktion/DE/Artikel/Digitale-Welt/foerderprogramm-go-digital.html. GULF BETWEEN HAS YET TO EMERGE

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