Who we are
EDI is the Digital Innovation Hub of Confcommercio Imprese per l’Italia, a non-profit organization founded in 1945 which is the largest national trade association with more than 690.000 SMEs member companies, 6000 employees and a broad network of offices spread throughout Italy.
EDI is part of the Digital Innovation Hub national strategy launched by the Italian Ministry of Economic Development within the “Piano Nazionale Impresa 4.0” (the national “Enterprises Strategy 4.0”) which specifically provided for the creation of Digital Innovation Hubs of national strategic interest promoted by the most representative national trade associations.
The main purpose of EDI is to carry out a structured program of activities with a not-for-profit objectives to help the broad adoption of advanced digital technologies by businesses – especially start-ups, SMEs and mid-caps – and serve as access points to innovative technologies and latest digital capacities (e.g. artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, blockchain, internet of things, etc.) through raise-awareness, specialized training and innovative services which are needed for a successful digital transformation.
In order to better intercept SMEs and maximize the impact at local level, EDI has a network of local structures throughout the national territory – the so called Spin – and develops an innovation ecosystem at national and local level with universities, research centre, large companies businesses, public administrations and other innovation actors. The nature of EDI let it operate as a Digital Innovation Hub at a national and local level, also being a point of contact for innovation-oriented actions from other European regions.
EDI carries out activities of awareness-raising and information to encourage the demand for innovation of SMEs and strengthen the level of knowledge and awareness on the opportunities offered by digital transformation and new technologies. The awareness and information activities are carried out through workshops, seminars, meetings and conferences held by experts in the field of innovation and with the support of tours to innovative companies and success stories to test innovative solutions in a real context.
Digital maturity assessment
EDI offers SMEs the opportunity to evaluate the level of digital and technological maturity using a self-assessment tool or through a survey made by digital and innovation experts. This analysis is carried out on the adopted technologies, the management system, the equipment, the technical skills and transversal skills of employees and managers to obtain a diagnosis of needs and guide SMEs towards the most appropriate digital solutions.
Education and training
EDI offers SMEs training activities through modular pathways designed to guarantee continuous training on the enabling key technologies of the digital transformation. The training activities can vary depending on the objectives and needs of participants and are structured in sequences of video lessons, seminars, webinars, project work and courses, providing a set of skills ranging from digital literacy to the specialized use of the enabling technologies. EDI carries out also Train-the-Trainer activities for the development of skills of staff and operators that locally interface with SMEs so as to provide companies with the highest level of information and assistance services.
EDI supports SMEs in defining and implementing research and innovation projects at national and international level with particular attention to key enabling technologies. EDI deals with monitoring of public-private initiatives, building of partnership and SME aggregations, drafting of project proposals and project management. EDI provides SMEs with a catalog of project ideas for the implementation of industrial research projects, experimental development, innovation, training and technology transfer.
Access to funding and financing
EDI supports SMEs in identifying and accessing private, public, local, national and European funding instruments aimed at the digital transformation. EDI supports SMEs interested in investing on innovation by connecting them with the most appropriate financial intermediary, providing also a test-before-invest service to have a clear and realistic scenario of the potentiality of the adopted technologies and the return on investment.
Access to technologies and thematic services
EDI offers SMEs specialized consultancy services to implement the digital transformation through personalized thematic activities to innovate their processes and products. EDI offers SMEs consultancy on the adoption of new technologies, for business plan drafting and business model definition and support SMEs through business model acceleration and business clinic services.
Access to networking and innovation ecosystems
EDI is an ecosystem that promotes a network of collaborations and interactions between the main stakeholders involved in the digitalization process, including SMEs, startups, entrepreneurs, competence centers, universities, research centers, technological centers, investors and local authorities. The EDI ecosystem facilitates the flow of resources and information among the main players in innovation and favors the transfer of skills and know-how connecting networks located in the territory.
Mentoring programmes, contest and challenges
EDI periodically proposes contest and challenge sessions to stimulate SME competition in the production of innovative ideas. EDI collaborates with SMEs for the validation and prototyping of project ideas through scouting and coaching activities in the startup phase. As incubator and accelerator, EDI supports SMEs through the testing and validation phases of innovative project ideas and products.
Support services in commercial and marketing activities
EDI offers support services in marketing and commercial activities for innovative SMEs to overcome market obstacles, seize its opportunities and affirm their own image and products. EDI provides a marketplace of commercial and marketing services through the EDI platform to allow SMEs acquiring consultancy and specific services on the subject.