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Pact for Skills
News article6 June 2023Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion

Case study: The ‘Digital Steps − Growth to the Business’ project


  • Main implementing organisation: South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences – Xamk 

  • EU funding programme supporting the project: European Social Fund (ESF) 

  • EU funding contribution: € 1,157,540.00 

  • Country: Finland 

Digital Steps visual

The 'Digital Steps – Growth to the Business' project aimed to improve the digital capabilities of small and medium-sized companies in South Savo, Finland. The project conducted digital skills surveys with over 250 companies, identifying each company’s skills gaps. Funded by the European Social Fund, the project was able to develop tailor-made training based on a company’s development needs on three levels: beginner, advanced and mastery. Local companies were guided towards a goal-oriented business development where each company’s success was evaluated using measurable indicators. 

Digital Steps – Growth to Business was led by the South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences in cooperation with several entrepreneurial organisations to develop training sessions that would strengthen Finnish companies’ digital capabilities. The project offered paid trainings, free digital info packs as well as a digital sparring model. Training sessions were initially carried out in small groups, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, these were moved online. The surveys and digital sparring continued partially in person and were always conducted in private meetings with the company. 

The companies involved greatly benefitted from the training sessions, materials and tailor-made digital sparring as they were able to get a greater understanding of how digital services work and how they can be used to serve different customer needs.  

Companies were also able to pick up new skills, which resulted in financial savings as outsourcing work was no longer required. The digital capabilities of companies were significantly raised, resulting in increased efficiency. This has led to further interest in digital support and due to increased demand, work will continue in the Digital Steps 2.0 project with even more company specific development plans. 

More information about the project can be found at this link.  

More about funding opportunities for upskilling and reskilling can be accessed via the Pact for Skills funding tool.