Hands-on digitalisation support for SMEs

Empowering local businesses with the right digital tools in Vinje, Denmark

 

The Municipality of Vejle, Denmark, supports economic development by providing local companies with digital services such as video equipment and services. SMEs can use this equipment to live-stream , organize webinars or hybrid conferences. Many small businesses, especially from the food sector have used the tool to promote their products online. Live-streaming service has been very valuable for businesses, especially during Covid-19 restrictions.

 

Challenges

During the Covid-19 lockdown in 2020, many local businesses realized that they had to go digital for sustaining their economic performance. Among other things, they needed more professional ways to promote their products and services online and they were lacking facilities for digital promotion as a compensation for physical meetings.

 

Problem solving process

The problem was handled with a bottom-up process combined with a test-and-trial approach.

Based on demands from the food businesses in the crisis of Covid-19, the food department of Vejle Business, Culinary Institute by Vejle Erhverv rent a temporary Live Streaming Studio. The aim was both to provide the food industry with digital sales support and to help all businesses find an alternative to sales in physical stores. SMEs have been supported by professional media-designers, who handle the Live Streaming Studio during the live-streaming session.

Companies show a high interest for using the online service. It is indeed expensive for a SME alone to invest in a live streaming studio, especially when the business impacts of such investments are not known yet.

Solutions

A live streaming studio can support SMEs both during and after the Covid-19 lockdown periods. Local SMEs from different industries (production, food and logistics) can test the studio to organize online meetings – and also create promotional videos for an extra fee. Businesses can then measure the impact of these new digital measures – an increase in online sales or a better visibility of the companies on the local regional market. 

The goal is to encourage companies to adopt further digital technologies in their business processes.

 

Expected results and outcomes

Vejle Municipality can inspire and support SMEs from different sectors to use a live streaming studio. Thus, Vejle helps businesses to increase their digital competences and uptake by knowledge sharing about digital sale promotion, video performance, business support and digital service in general. Vejle Municipality also conducts conferences, events and competitions digitally by using the Live Streaming Studio. In autumn 2021 Vejle organized a competition for professional cooks with the challenge to serve three gourmet dishes with potato as the main ingredient. The competition was both live-streamed and filmed. See the Potato Prize Competition 2021. The Covid-19 pandemic had resulted in many cancellations of physical events, but a studio can replace large physical events in the future.

 

Lessons Learned

Vejle Municipality works on expanding the service to different business sectors. The challenge is to find the best way to introduce the products and services online. It is particularly difficult in the case of products, which cannot be physically sent to the customers.