European digital SMEs – Creativeness, innovation and entrepreneurship for Smarter Communities

DIGITAL SME, together with Focus Group Smart Communities and AURORAL, organised the session “European digital SMEs  – Creativeness, innovation and entrepreneurship for Smarter Communities” on 10 May, 14.00 – 16.45 WEST as part of the Alentejo Summit. 

The digital transition has a profound impact on every European region, city, town and village, by changing the way people live and interact with each other and with emerging technologies. A particular focus is needed on the rural areas, as they represent the 83% of the total EU area and experience community’s specific challenges, such as the lack of digital infrastructure, skills (digital divide), interoperability standards, as well as demographic challenges, e.g. the lack of generational renewal.

Bridging the gap between urban and rural areas becomes imperative for the whole European economic competitiveness and to tackle the societal challenges of the future. Digital innovator SMEs are the main actors to deliver such transformation, as they are naturally embedded in their community of reference and are aware of the area’s specific challenges. The AURORAL project becomes the virtual space where these SMEs and local authorities can initiate collaboration to increase connectivity and deliver a digital environment of smart objects and interoperable services platforms. Such dynamic ecosystems of innovation will allow local digital SMEs to collaborate and leverage the power of the community and scale up and offer their services to other rural areas.

The first part of this event was dedicated to the active role of digital SMEs in bridging the digital divide between rural and urban areas. The second part analysed and validated implementation barriers and innovation gaps currently slowing down the digital transition of rural areas, and how SMEs intervened and cover these gaps with their services.


14.00 – 14.10 Welcome

  • Sebastiano Toffaletti, European DIGITAL SME Alliance
  • Paula Peiró, H2020-AURORAL Project
14.10 – 14.20 Opening remarks

  • Martin Brynskov, Open & Agile Smart Cities
14.20 – 14.50 Digital SMEs to bridge the urban digital divide: tour de table with technology providers

  • Moderation by Paulo Valente, Smartlamppost and interventions from the audience
14.50 – 15.00 Best practice: Digital Success Programme and Digital Village Programme – replicability and scalability of digital services and products

  • Ádám Csiky-Mészáros, Digital Success Programme and Digital Village Programme
15.00 – 15.10 Best practice: DIH4Society – leveraging the power of DIHs to create smarter and safer communities

  • Andrei Kelemen, COO and Head of Internationalization // DIH4Society
15.10 – 15.15 Wrap up


15.25 – 15.35 Introduction to AURORAL project and opportunities for SMEs

Andrea Gioseffi – Project Manager for AURORAL

15.35 – 15.40 Introduction to the workshop scope and breakout rooms function


15.40 – 16.20 Workshop: identifying innovation gaps for the deployment of interoperable services platforms in rural areas

Breakout sessions moderated by SINTEF and DIGITAL SME

16.20 – 16.45 Reconvene to plenary and concluding remarks

  • Paulo Valente, at Smartlamppost,
  • Marcos Nogueira, H2020-AURORAL project