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José Antonio Bernia, from Orange: “The SME will have to advance the corresponding VAT in the Digital Kit”

With the second section of the Digital Kit about to startwe have spoken with one of the digitizers who know the most about these grants for SMEs and the self-employed, José Antonio Bernia, Director of Digitization for the Self-Employed and SMEs at Orange Spain.

Jose Antonio he gave us a few strokes of how their clients have received this package of measures in favor of digitization. He also told us that the solution that is being demanded the most is “process management”, followed by social networks and website. Among other topics, the manager clarifies how to manage the VAT on aid and know how to face the gray autumn that lies ahead.

MuyPymes: What do we know about the second section of the Digital Kit? (dates, deadlines, who is it addressed to…)

Jose Antonio Bernia: The bases of the Digital Kit program specify that, depending on the number of employees, the aid will be divided into three calls. The first of them, currently open to companies with between 10 and 49 employees, has grants of up to 12,000 euros, began in March and will end in mid-September or when the maximum allocation for this segment is reached (600 M €).

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Specifically with regard to the second section, which is the one you are asking me about, and it is the one dedicated to businesses with between 3 and 9 employees, to which up to 6,000 euros per company, in aid. The administration is expected to publish the call (project regulations) before the end of July and the application period is expected to begin at the beginning of September.

And there would be a third section, dedicated to the self-employed and companies with less than 3 employees, whose opening is scheduled from October and which will have a maximum aid per company of up to 2,000 euros.

MuyPymes: What interest are you seeing among your clients regarding aid?

Jose Antonio Bernia: The reception among companies is being very good, in fact, the latest available data states that approximately half of the companies that are part of the first segment of aid have applied for the digital bonus of the first call and that more than 10,000 of them already have received their bonus of up to €12,000.

Until now, at an institutional level, a program such as the Digital Kit had not been carried out, which has an economic endowment that will make possible the digitalization of more than a million self-employed, small and medium-sized companies.

MuyPymes: In this new section, what do you think are the solutions that are going to be most in demand and why?

Jose Antonio Bernia: Among the 10 most demanded categories of digital solutions, 3 stand out above the rest. In the first place, the most demanded solution is Process Management. The main reason is the flexibility and functionalities that this service allows, since within this category there is room for solutions that cover financial and accounting management needs (ERP systems), a document management solution that allows the receipt and generation of invoices or delivery notes and cloud storage of these documents.

A process management solution can also be applied to improve the management of businesses and companies that focus on the sale of goods or services.

Social media, website and internet presence solutions are the next most in demand. With social networks, companies can create or improve their profiles to enhance their brand image and sales on the most appropriate social networks for their sector and services. With the website and Internet presence category, the company will have a professional website that is well positioned in the main search engines and digital directories.

The next set of categories with the greatest demand among our clients are: client and supplier management, cybersecurity and secure communications, virtual office and e-commerce.

MuyPymes: Is it important for SMEs to have a trusted partner on this path to digitization?

Jose Antonio Bernia: In order for the digitization process to be successful and useful in companies, factors such as ignorance or lack of strategy must be addressed, which is why it is essential to rely on in a trusted partner.

Many times companies, and specifically the self-employed and SMEs, do not have sufficient human and financial capital to dedicate themselves exclusively to digitization and so that this situation is not an impediment to their digital growth, it is key to be able to count on a partner technology that advises them and offers them the digital solutions that best suit their needs.

MuyPymes: What do SMEs have to do to apply for these new grants?

Jose Antonio Bernia: Orange, in its commitment to bring these Digital Kit grants to the largest possible number of companies, undertakes to carry out the application process at no cost to interested companies. In order for us to make this request, we need the company to authorize us to be your Volunteer Representative and to be able to carry out the procedures on your behalf. The process is simple, the company must provide Orange with the company data so that we can return the authorization letter document filled out, then the company signs it digitally via certified SMS and from there, Orange takes care of all the paperwork necessary for them to receive the grants.

In addition to this letter of authorization, there is another requirement established by the public body, which is to complete the Digital Diagnostic Test on the AceleraPyme portal, which we must remember does not condition the granting of aid or the solutions that can be chosen. To carry out this Test, the employer must create a user in the Acelera Pyme portal and thus the Test carried out is associated with his company.

As in any public grant award process there are a series of requirements that the beneficiaries must meet, such as being up to date with payments, being considered a small or micro-enterprise and not exceeding the minimum aid limit, among others.

MuyPymes: How does the VAT issue work in these grants?

Jose Antonio Bernia: The aid covers up to 100% of the cost of the solutions during the first year and each company may receive a maximum subsidy amount based on its size, which may be combined with the digital solutions it needs, as stated above.

The only amount that the company will have to advance is the VAT corresponding to the cost of these solutions, an amount that the beneficiary companies will be able to recover in their quarterly declaration.

MuyPymes: All forecasts predict a gray autumn for the economy, will digitization help weather the storm?

Jose Antonio Bernia: During the pandemic and up to the present, technology and its implementation within a digitization strategy is demonstrating the enormous value it brings to businesses.

For example, going digital for a small business can bring great benefits, either by saving costs by automating certain processes and as a result increasing its productivity and competitiveness. The opportunity is there thanks to the European Funds and knowing how to take advantage of it is going to be key not only for its survival but also for betting on its growth.

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