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On August 26, the Mittelstand Digital initiative, which was launched back in 2012, provided information about the establishment of a Mittelstand-Digital Zentrum Ruhr-OWL in July 2021, which will receive 5.9 million euros in funding from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy until June 2024. Project partners are Fraunhofer IML, Fraunhofer IEM, Fraunhofer IOSB-INA, Digital Hub Management GmbH and OstWestfalenLippe GmbH.

According to its own statements, the goal is generally to support small and medium-sized enterprises “in the digitalization of products, production methods and processes as well as the development of digital business models.” In this context, “lab tours, potential analyses, qualification offers, transfer projects, digital strategies and industry circles” are offered free of charge. In existing SME digital centers, 100 employees and specialists from a wide range of companies in various industries came together – before Corona – and looked at examples of successful approaches to digitalization in a company.

“Through our offerings,” says project manager Dr.-Ing. Matthias Parlings from Fraunhofer IML in Dortmund, “small and medium-sized enterprises can tap the potential of digital transformation for their business. This involves digital strategies, platform economy, intelligent systems, Internet of Things and artificial intelligence.”

However, the examples presented of the packaging company Josef Schulte in Delbrück and PIEL Die Technische Großhandlung revolved less around the digitalization of core industrial value creation processes than around trade and order processing. The initiative is by no means limited to this. As a point of contact, the center is certainly helpful for all kinds of industrial SMEs.

Pictures: © Initiative Mittelstand Digital