Welcome to the COM3 (Buidling COMpetencies for COMpetitive COMpanies) project!

COM³ emphasizes on the disadvantages of location, scale and resources in rural areas as a common challenge in the NSR. Rural areas host more than 20% (40 Mio) of the population in the NSR with considerable economic potentials coupled with great environmental values. A large share of rural NSR businesses are SMEs, family-run, employing fewer than 10 people. These are the types of businesses that are at the same level endangered by digital changes and that can gain from using digital techs to expand their innovative and productive potential. Geographical barriers, aging population and declining economies have resulted in an ongoing depopulation (especially the younger generation) of the NSR rural areas and their poorer attractiveness to live and work. Creating smart and strong rural economies would be the only key left to make them attractive places for businesses and investment. This is a concern addressed by the EU digital & cohesion strategy with a target of bridging the rural divide by promoting digital literacy, enhancing online trust and achieving a Digital Single Market.

Against this background, COM³ puts the focus on local and regional authorities as facilitators and enables them to create digitally enabled environments for the existence, growth and inspiration of local businesses. In this journey, COM³ provides a model and hands on support for local and regional authorities to save their local businesses and help them to grow and scale up. Depending on the baselines, the partners jointly develop transnational supportive measures for local authorities to help their local economy fully benefit from the advantages of digital technologies and overcome their geographical barriers in three categories:

  • Enabling small traditional enterprises for basic tech-adoption through guidance, training and digital-hubs
  • Progressive support for digital enterprises for advanced tech-adoption through coaching, guides and digital-hubs
  • Empowering transnational business cooperation and scale-up through mapping, networking and matchmaking

COM³ partners opt for an inward digital innovation process of rural areas based on their character, capacity, socio-economic and environmental assets. Besides the unique COM3 support model (including the guiding measures, training and coaching, as well as connected hubs) the aim is to create 9 unique tech-enabled and tech-branded regions in 3 cluster sectors namely; traditional sector, rural tourism and data driven economy.


The project has a total budget of 4.203.832€ from which 50% are co-financed by the Interreg North Sea Region Programme.