European Commission launches ReStartSMEs – a new innitiative to support Manufacturing SMEs in economy recovery through technology convergence

ReStartSMEs is the initiative promoted by the European Commission to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and thus economic downturn. The project aims to build resilience of manufacturing SMEs in automotive, machinery & equipment, food and textile by analyzing their digitalization needs and offering concrete tools to adopt modern technologies such as AI, robotics, cybersecurity & IoT.

The project goal is to match technology providers with traditional manufacturing SMEs to support the uptake of advance technologies, traditional manufacturers and supportive organisations to build meaningful connections and together transition to Industry 5.0.

ReStartSMEs is funded by the European Commission and implemented by a consortium of five European Clusters (bwcon, Torino Wireless, Mobinov, Clustero, Linpra), two technology providers (Eurecat and Imec) and a Community of European Tech Innovators (FundingBox Accelerator).

Digital Readiness Tool

Since its inception, ReStartSMES has launched a Digital Readiness Tool that help SMEs make a free assessment of their digital maturity level. Interested SMEs are invited to fill-in an online assessment available in several languages here: https://restartsmes.eu/assessment-test

Upon the completion, a wholesome analysis of SME’s strengths and weaknesses will be provided by the project’s expert team together with a digitalisation action plan.

Local Workshops

To understand better the needs of manufacturing SMEs towards the uptake of advanced technologies, five consortium members, cluster organisations: Linpra, Torino Wireless, bwcon, ClusteRO and Mobinov have recently organized workshops in their respective countries involving 80 SME’s representatives.

From the discussion, it has emerged that while most of manufacturing companies are aware of Industry 4.0 and the benefits of digitalization, in many cases they still lack financial resources and skilled workforce to design and implement a tailored digitalisation roadmap.

The input from the workshops will be now analysed and used as an inspiration all further ReStartSMEs activities such as training, technical assistance and Hackathon.

Hackathons, Mentoring and Training

The following phase of the program will feature five transnational hackathons, during which manufacturing SMEs will be matched with 400 tech-savvy SMEs that are eager to solve the main challenges identified in the assessment process and during the local workshops.

Selected manufacturing SMEs have furthermore the opportunity to receive professional support for the development of a Technology Adoption Roadmap, a strategic planning tool that –based on the status quo portrayed in the assessment – will help match short-term and long-term goals of the SME with specific technology solutions and possible providers.

On top of this, SMEs can access free training on Industry 5.0 and personalised business support to explore funding and commercialization opportunities for the collaboration with technology providers.

Online Community

All interested SMEs, service providers and parties involved in fostering digitalisation of manufacturing SMEs, shall join free online community to learn more about the project, interact with the participants and consortium members as well as to keep up to date with the latest development of the initiative.


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