Business support sector across Europe benefits from 20 essential digital tools showcased in newly published toolkit

Business support sector across Europe benefits from 20 essential digital tools showcased in newly published toolkit

Economies across Europe are set to increase their digital understanding and impact thanks to a new toolkit announced today. The Digital Change Makers Toolkit has been designed to guide business advisors, entrepreneurship educators, entrepreneurs and SMEs as to the best digital technologies available for 2020.

Digital Change Makers ToolkitThe newly published Digital Change Makers Toolkit is a key outcome of the Erasmus+ and the European Commission funded Digital Change Makers programme. The toolkit aims to increase the skills and confidence of those working within the business support network, whilst encouraging their entrepreneur and SME end clients to harness the digital revolution.

The interactive Digital Change Makers Toolkit contains a carefully selected list of 20 digital tools; designed to enable business advisors to get to grips with each tool in less than an hour. The pros and cons of each technology are assessed in detail, before a practical application is presented – including real-life case studies of how other advisors and educators are using the tool.

Well-known products such as Skype, WordPress and Trello are included on the list, alongside more niche tools such as the Powtoon video maker and the Diigo research tool.

The 20 tools are also divided into six categories within the toolkit, reflecting the broad nature of business advisory activity:

1. project management
2. online meetings
3. collaboration and file sharing
4. presentation and animation
5. research
6. course creation.

Teams of business support experts contributed to the creation of the toolkit, and thorough testing saw it presented to mentors, business advisors and SME end clients during the development phase.

Feedback has been extremely positive, with one mentor based in Ireland praising the fact that the toolkit had honed in on those tools best suited to his unique work.

He commented:

“As a mentor, it has always been a challenge to find the right digital tools that are suited to my profession. There are so many out there that claim to be the best in the market. With the Digital Change Makers Toolkit, I am now confident about what tools to use, what their best-suited use is, and how to use them. But most importantly I can find one that suits my specific needs and preferences.”

An SME owner in the Netherlands described the toolkit as

“a great initiative for those advisors and entrepreneurs who are less proficient with digital tools!”

Mary MacRory, Business Development Manager at Omagh Enterprise Company Limited – the lead project partner for the programme – described the publication of the Toolkit as a huge success and commented:

“Our challenge was how to choose just 20 digital tools, from the hundreds that are available? We knew that in order to create a toolkit tailored to business advisors and enterprise educators, their involvement was key. With close collaboration from each of the programme partners, we were able to consult experts from across Europe. The end result is a document which we believe will enable those working with SMEs and early-stage entrepreneurs to really harness the digital revolution, and positively impact economies across Europe.”   

The Digital Change Makers programme, delivered by partners from Ireland, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Denmark, was designed to strengthen the confidence of those supporting early-stage entrepreneurs and SMEs. The programme has created and delivered multiple practical resources to upskill business advisors and those working across the business advisory sector. Small business clients seeking help from a confident and skilled Digital Change Maker are likely to achieve greater success in their own businesses; resulting in direct economic benefits such as employment opportunities and wider economic growth.

The Digital Change Makers Toolkit is the second resource produced by the programme partners. The Digital Change Makers Good Practice Guide was published in the Autumn of 2019, while the final resource – an online learning course will be available this Spring.

More information about the programme can be found at http://www.digitalchangemakers.eu