Digital and innovations – An opportunity for investors

The Czech Republic is creating a sustainable and consistent national digital ecosystem. Based on the main strategies (e.g. Digital Czechia, the National AI Strategy, the Innovation Strategy 2019-2030 and the 5G Strategy), the plan is to interconnect all of the main stakeholders in the field of digital technologies (e.g. AI, HPC, quantum-computing and cybersecurity) and to help the economy to combat the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Czech Republic recognises the importance of digital technologies and their increasing impact on our everyday lives. Major opportunities for their deployment should be based on European values, e.g. focus on the security and safety of citizens, which is the very precondition for the true implementation of fundamental human rights.

COVID-19 reflections

Despite the obvious negative effects on the economy, it is necessary to point out that the coronavirus pandemic is accelerating the implementation of innovation and new technologies. The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MIT) responded and prepared programmes to help entrepreneurs in a record short time. It launched the “nursing” programme for self-employed people, as well as the COVID – Rent and COVID – Culture programmes. Support was provided most rapidly for research, development and innovation in the Czech Rise Up and other programmes. The MIT has launched or participated in a number of programmes directly aimed at supporting innovation and technology transfer and providing progressive investment incentives.  

The leading role of artificial intelligence (AI) and other new and emerging technologies

Based on the National AI Strategy and other documents, the Czech government is committed to significant funding of investments aimed at boosting innovation in the economy, especially in SMEs. The AI agenda is included in the EU budget for 2021-2027. The Ministry of Industry and Trade is the national coordinator of the new Digital Europe Programme, which is focused on the creation of a sustainable digital/innovative ecosystem. Therefore, the MIT is heavily involved in building an interconnected and sustainable network of European Digital Innovation Hubs together with the AI Testing and Experimentation Facilities and European Centre of Excellence in AI.

The Czech Republic has the highest rate of adoption of two or more AI technologies by enterprises

According to the European Commission’s Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI), the Czech Republic has the highest percentage of enterprises using two or more AI technologies. Altogether, 40% of Czech companies have adopted and benefited from solutions based on artificial intelligence. The Business Barometer 19also confirms that the pandemic significantly boosted interest in digital technologies among enterprises and organisations – 27% of enterprises plan to increase investments in such technologies compared to 2020. A survey by the Ministry of Industry and Trade shows that the priority areas of investment for SMEs are data and cybersecurity in the next year and automation in the longer term.

 

 

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Source: Digital Economy and Society Index Report, European Commission, 2021

Digital Europe Programme and European Digital Innovation Hubs – how to digitalise SMEs

To support the deployment and use of the digital capacities that underpin innovation in areas of public interest and business and recognising the importance of digitalisation during the COVID-19 pandemic, the European Commission has launched the new Digital Europe Programme, which is focused on the development and deployment of new technologies such as AI, HPC and cybersecurity. One of the most important implementation tools comprises the new European Digital Innovation Hubs, which are intended to provide necessary services for the digital transformation of SMEs and public administration.

Petr Očko
Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade
Ministry of Industry and Trade