Growth from Data programme accelerates business renewal

Growth from Data programme accelerates business renewal

Collaborating with significant stakeholders TIEKE is to design and develop a national, business-oriented, and cost-effective data business training model, aiming to enable more companies to leverage the opportunities of data economy.

For more than five years, the Growth from Data programme developed by Sitra has provided Finnish companies with information and tools for developing data-using services. Since its initial launch in 2018, the programme concept and materials that were created for the first round have served as a basis for various implementations by different players.   

Coaching courses for micro businesses and SMEs

The Finnish Information Society Development Centre TIEKE started utilizing the materials to further iterate the model in the end of 2021. During 2022 TIEKE ran a Growth from Data coaching course for micro businesses and SMEs in the travel and hospitality sector. This introduced more than 500 entrepreneurs from all over Finland to the potential of data through webinars. An online course was launched, and 58 companies signed up for it. Despite of the fair amount of interest from companies, the weakness of the model was (due to the legal restraints of the funding), that it was not possible to provide any company-specific support. This made it more challenging for SMEs to advance with the programme, especially if their data maturity was low. In a group of companies consisting mainly of micro-enterprises, other business pressures and the aftermath of the corona period took attention away to other activities of urgency, resulting in only few of the companies completing the course. 

Taking the lessons learnt from the strictly online version of the programme, in 2023 TIEKE piloted a hybrid model of the program. Datamatka project offered an online course combined with webinars and workshops provided by data experts from different sectors of business intelligence. Datamatka participants were also offered the possibility of running small data utilization experiments, supported by a data expert, utilizing the company’s own and other freely available data. Datamatka activities were participated by 30 nature tourism companies around sparsely populated Finland. From the learnings of Datamatka project TIEKE started drafting a more cost-effective and modular model of digitalization and data related coaching for micro and small businesses. 

Towards a scalable model to improve companies’ data maturity

In the end of 2023 TIEKE received funding from SITRA for building a scalable model of the programme. The aim of the improved concept is to help a larger number of companies in a cost-efficient way to advance with their data maturity and to take their first steps in the data economy. The model will be ready at the end of March 2024. To take into account the various needs of SMEs in different sectors as well as the lessons learnt from various efforts to boost the data economy, a wide range of data economy and industry players have been engaged in the process. These players include e.g. Business Finland, Technology Industries Finland, Service Sector Employers Palta, Finnish Transport and Logistics SKAL, three of the Finnish EDIHs (European Digital Innovation Hub) and the Federation of Finnish Enterprises.  

The current concept of the fine-tuned, scalable model consists of a combination of a maturity survey, modular online resources matching to the current data maturity level of participating organizations, mutually agreed development steps and a data business road map to support them on their path as well as peer-learning sessions and company-specific consultations.

Through the engagement of the different players through-out the concept stage, the new offering should not overlap with other organizations’ services – instead the collaboration should enable smoother transitions e.g. from capacity building to finding funding instruments or from EDIH testbeds to participating in the programme. 

The target is to pilot the new model with external funding in the end of 2024 and for TIEKE to include the finalized version in their training offering in 2025. Additionally, TIEKE has utilized the experiences gained and materials created during the running of Growth from Data programme in successful project proposals for several funding calls and is aiming to elaborate it into data space projects in the future.