About the event
This event provided for knowledge exchange and networking opportunity for National Promotional Banks and Institutions (NPBIs). It featured expert speakers and interactive panels and focussed on a range of relevant themes, including the development of advisory capacity, social outcomes contracting, SMEs digitalisation and circular economy.
Some 40 representatives of NPBIs from across Europe attended the event, along with representatives of the European Commission (EC), European Investment Bank (EIB) Group and other guests from the European Commission.
Panel on Developing NPBIs’ Advisory Capacities
The session on support to local expertise was presented by Miha Švent and Desislava Kraleva (EIAH team) and focussed on the Hub funding available to NPBIs through the current Call for Proposals. Examples of the ongoing programmes were then discussed in a panel, where speakers from Bpifrance, Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) and Slovenska Izvozna in Razvojna Banka (SID) shared their considerations, rationale and experience with advisory activities.
It was the occasion for Bpifrance to present participants with its SME Accelerator Programme, which it is aiming to upscale through the EIAH Call for NPBIs. The Accelerator has set itself the ambitious goal to substantially enhance the number of midcaps in the French economy and thus an important gap in the economic fabric of the country.
Panel on SMEs Digitalisation
François Gilles and Alberto Casorati from EIB introduced the topic, by explaining the context of SME digitalisation initiatives. The digitalisation spending in Europe is expected to reach €65 billion in the near future, while substantial market gaps remain evident, especially in traditional sectors such as education, healthcare, construction and transportation. The growing number of Digital Innovation Hubs, not-for-profit, one-stop shops that help companies expand their use of digital technologies, are effective means for European SMEs to improve their business and production processes, products and services and to increase their competitiveness. However, a range of challenges remain which are both financial and non-financial in nature. The session was concluded by a panel discussion with representatives from Portuguese SPGM, Irish SBCI and Bpifrance, who shared their experience and challenges around national SME digitalisation initiatives.