The European Commission is encouraging the growth of micro-enterprises and small businesses in various European regions through the use of digital technologies. Innovation vouchers worth up to €10,000 will in fact be made available to SMEs with a view to enhance their e-commerce and ICT capacities. This initiative, which is currently being piloted in the Spanish Regions of Murcia and Extremadura, will allow businesses to exchange their vouchers for specialist ICT services, such as website development and to adopt ICT tools for business processes.
European companies are only slowly adopting ICT initiatives for their business development. Between 2010 to 2012, there was a slight increase in Europe of 6% in businesses developing websites. This scheme aims at increasing this percentage.
During the period 2007-2013, €14.2 billion in structural funds were allocated for ICT-related investments with over €3 billion directly used by SMEs to enhance their ICT capabilities. This, in turn, led to the initiation of over 20,000 ICT projects.
The voucher schemes will be funded through the EU structural and investment funds (ESI).