II. The Growth of Companies and New ICT Jobs

II. The Growth of Companies and New ICT Jobs

The creation of more digital jobs has necessary and mandatory implications on the growth of Portuguese companies. This growth in the Portuguese business tissue passes by introducing ICT applications, services, and tools in the different economic sectors, as well as an approximation to the big companies, and internationalisation, making it easier to involve Portuguese scientific and technological institutions in international networks and partnerships.

We recognise the fundamental role that Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) play in the economic evolution of contemporary societies, particularly in terms of employment. This circumstance, combined with the ‘diversity’ factor, which adds to the composition of the business tissue in this modern economy, constitutes straight away one of the most critical factors for the competitiveness of any country whatsoever. We know that the SME are an important element acting as a catalyst in economic growth, since - due to their specific characteristics - they reveal an enormous potential for a more productive and efficient use of resources in technological innovation, reinforcing the competition, creating jobs, and, in a way, resilience during the crisis.

However, due to their specific characteristics, the SME also reveal, many times, greater difficulties in accessing and managing information, knowledge, and the use of ICT. Overall, while preserving specific diversity factors - i.e. Sectors, ‘age’ -, the degree of ICT use and sophistication for this segment, particularly in terms of new business models and investing on digital economy, is significantly low and requires significant improvement. Still, one may register important developments and innovations regarding ICT service companies, particularly in emerging and worldwide technologically sophisticated fields, which should be consolidated and projected.

On the other hand, in terms of non-ICT SME sectors, these goals and instruments must ensure the acceleration of an efficient, wider and generalised ‘digitalisation’ process for business models and processes.

For a perspective that will approach this initiative's contribution towards a business growth, particularly that of the SME start ups, therefore towards a sustained growth of the supply of ‘digital jobs’, one should consider focusing on two realities with different needs and behaviour.

Specific guidelines in terms of Qualification and Re-qualification

The specific guidelines in terms of ICT qualification and re-qualification are as follows:

  • Multiply and increase the number of companies in the ICT sector, ensuring the best conditions for gaining efficiency, scale, and sustainability during the approach to the internationalisation and consolidation of an innovative and valuable image;
  • Accelerate the efficient, wider and generalised; digitalisation' process for business models and processes, particularly in areas where competitiveness gains are more critical for value creation and growth;
  • To assess and systematise specific needs and main barriers/limits to the digitalisation of businesses and inclusion of digital skills in companies;
  • Stimulate technological entrepreneurship, particularly the 'digital' one;
  • Promote a connection to the business sector by including doctorates in companies and employee PhDs in companies enabling them to benefit from R&D skills, as well as start-ups.

Lines of Action

These guidelines are translated into the following lines of action:

  • Support ICTE entrepreneurship by reinforcing the network of existing incubators in the innovation ecosystems that exist in universities and polytechnics, or any other existing incubators and accelerators;
  • Grant entrepreneurship incentives in digital entertainment and the production of digital content;
  • Develop the risk capital component in innovation ecosystems, which may generate new business IT initiatives;
  • Include a component in the incentives for the innovation and internationalisation of companies, which will enable: i) accelerate the digitalisation of business models and processes in SME, particularly in areas where competitiveness gains are more critical for value creation and growth, and ii) identify areas that may be transformed digitally through legislative changes (i.e. Electronic invoices and IRS delivery).