The economic and social importance of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) for Germany and Lower Saxony is obvious. More than 99 % of all companies in Germany are SMEs, which together generate 55 % of Germany's total net value added. In Lower Saxony, more than 2 million people work in small and medium-sized enterprises. Entire industries are significantly shaped by SMEs. Current research results show that although SMEs have made considerable progress in the context of digitization in recent years, the holistic transformation process is still in its infancy, especially among small companies. In order to promote the future viability of SMEs, it is necessary to identify the specific barriers that stand in the way of realizing digitization measures and to support them in overcoming them. One major barrier to digital transformation can be seen in problems of understanding within a company. Experience from more than five years of intensive collaboration with SMEs in Lower Saxony shows that comprehensive offers and binding contact persons in the regions are elementary in order to address companies directly on site.
The Mittelstand-Digital Zentrum Hannover makes medium-sized companies fit for the digital future. With information events, company talks, workshops and digitization projects, companies are empowered to invest strategically in innovative technologies and AI applications. The Mittelstand-Digital Zentrum is present throughout Lower Saxony and beyond at local companies. Its offerings are tailored to the individual digitization status of each company thanks to its broad focus in terms of both method and content. The center primarily addresses the manufacturing industry. Additional offerings are available for a variety of other industries, such as the skilled trades and the hospitality industry.