COM³ Success: How COM³ Drives Digital Transformation in Rural Businesses

15 June 2023 - Published by P. Khodabakhsh
After four active years of efforts and collaboration to building competencies for competitive companies, the COM³ project is happy to release its latest policy brief outlining the successes of its digital support initiatives for rural businesses.

In a significant development for municipalities, regions, and the business community in the 9 COM³ pilot regions of the North Sea region, the COM³ project just published a policy brief highlighting the positive outcomes of its digital support initiatives. The brief, titled "Driving Digital Transformation in Rural Businesses", presents the results of a survey conducted among businesses and organisations involved in the COM³ project. With responses from 62 organisations across all seven partner countries, this publication sheds light on the impact of digital support interventions on small companies.

One of the key objectives of COM³ is to enhance the digital competencies of small companies in rural areas. Municipalities, regions as intermediary organisations, have a key role to play and can be facilitators for the tech-adoption of small business in rural areas.

In the COM³ project, nine local and regional authorities or business support organisations designed and tested various use cases to facilitate digital transformation and innovation. The survey sought to evaluate the outcomes of these efforts and gather feedback from participating companies.

Businesses engaged in COM³ in a variety of ways, including networking, digital skills workshops, support for online sales, peer learning, student-based projects and discussions about open data. 84% of businesses identified that participation in COM³ made a difference to their understanding of digital technology, while 74% identified that it had made a difference to their use of digital technology.

With the promising outcomes showcased in the policy brief, the COM³ project is poised to inspire similar endeavors in the North Sea Region and beyond, demonstrating the transformative potential of digital support for small businesses in rural areas.


Read the policy brief:

COM³ Policy Brief: Driving Digital Transformation in Rural Businesses


The author

The COM³ policy brief and the survey analysis was developed by Liz Price, Senior Research Fellow at Lincoln International Business School in the UK. Liz Price conducts research into regional and local economic development, rural broadband, skills, and labour markets, and business support. Her recent research focuses on the role of digital hubs and learn ing in improving digital skills and technology adoption in rural small busi nesses.

In the COM³ project,Liz Price contributed to the project methodology and development of training solutions. She also participated in UoL4.0 Challenge, the pilot at the University of Lincoln. The UoL 4.0 Challenge engages local businesses and students in exploring opportunities for digitalisation. Teams of students pair with small companies and explore how digital technology could lead to new commercial ideas and new ways of interacting with customers and suppliers