IMM Online becomes the first European platform for connecting SMEs and young tech specialists


The IMM Online team is launching a new phase for one of Romania’s most impactful digitization programs. Unique in Europe, IMM Online brings together SMEs and young tech professionals. At the same time, we also present the results of a qualitative survey analyzing the needs of SMEs. Some of the results we estimate to achieve with this program through 2024: 50,000 new jobs for young professionals and a business increase of over 30% for over 100,000 SMEs. The matchmaking platform is accessible on www.immonline.ro by all entrepreneurs who run an SME and need an online presence and promotion. IMM Online is primarily aimed at small producers, artisans, artists, farmers and freelancers, but the program is not limited to these areas. IMM Online is a program created by Digital Nation with the support of Google.org and Banca Transilvania, while being part of a new digital direction adopted by the organization.

“We recently spoke with the Google.org team, Members of the European Parliament and technology leaders about the possibility of coming together to accelerate the digitization of SMEs and develop cutting-edge technologies that galvanize significant changes for the 22.6 million SMEs in the European Union. Union. We are excited to launch our own matchmaking platform, with a guidance component based on AI (artificial intelligence). Our efforts go to the 500,000 small businesses in Romania; Over the next year, we plan to expand this program to CEECs (Central and Eastern Europe). – says Paul Apostol, founder of Digital Nation, just after his participation in the global event organized by Google.org, #SkillsWeek.

IMM Online was created during the pandemic and is aimed at small Romanian businesses who need an online presence and are looking for quick solutions to digitize their business with limited time and financial resources. The program connects SMEs to a network of +2000 young IT and digital marketing experts, while offering digital solutions ready to be implemented.

The main advantages of IMM Online:

  • Generations connect productively and collaboratively. Companies gain a relevant online presence and affected specialists gain their first professional experience
  • IMM Online becomes a strategic and operational support for SMEs, as companies can outsource IT and marketing services. All support is free, while entrepreneurs allocate budgets only for services such as website hosting
  • Thanks to this program, SMEs take their first steps in the digital world, while monetizing these initiatives

The main conclusions of the qualitative study:

  • SMEs are a vital component of the Romanian economy, providing 66% of the total workforce and more than half of the value of the GDP. Romania has around 590,000 SMEs, out of a total of over 25 million in the European Union: 531,000 micro-enterprises / entrepreneurs or individual entrepreneurs, 49,000 small enterprises and 8,400 medium-sized enterprises. They represent 99.7% of the Romanian economy; large companies with more than 250 employees represent only 0.3%. Currently, statistics show that Romanian SMEs are not innovative, less than half of the average European level (source: European Innovation Scoreboard). The Romanian digital economy is growing faster, with almost 10-12% per year, while the European rate is 6-8%. This increase was accentuated by the pandemic, resulting in a value of 15 to 20% per year.
  • SMEs can become more competitive if they have an online presence and increase their knowledge of digital skills among employees.
  • 84% of SMEs think that the brand must develop to remain competitive; however, 42% do not even have a brand identity. In order to meet their marketing and online needs, it is important that SMEs collaborate with experts for their first digital steps and to build their presence and promotion online. (e.g. 46% have a working website; 56% have a social media page or community; 13% opt for e-commerce; 55% have the option to pay online; only 21% promote their online business).
  • More than 70% of SMEs say they have difficulty accessing finance, especially for investments. They need to have access to expertise and to clear and simplified information, to guide them during the eligibility analysis.

More information on the financial management, online marketing and sales, legal and HR needs of SMEs can be found in the detailed version of the survey of more than 600 companies, available in this section of the site.

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