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Factsheet for measure DE-2017-27/2691 Updated – measures in Germany



Country Germany , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 06 July 2017 – 31 December 2024
Context Digital Transformation, Restructuring Support Instruments
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Reorientation of business activities
– Change of production/Innovation
Author Sandra Vogel (IW)
Measure added 23 June 2022 (updated 02 November 2022)

Background information

The go-digital programme was first tested in a pilot project and finally rolled out all over Germany in 2017. The goal is to help small- and medium-sized companies with going digital and provide targeted support in the form of consultancy services. The measure is regulated by a public guideline detailing the usage of funds.

Content of measure

The programme go-digital funds targeted consulting for small- and medium-sized companies by authorised consulting companies in the modules 'digital business processes', 'digital market development' and 'IT security'. The instrument is available for enterprises, that have fewer than 100 employees and less than €20 million annual turnover in the previous year. The consulting services that the companies may use are differ within the four modules.

In the 'digital business processes' module the following services are fundable: * Introduction of e-business software solutions;

  • Implementation services in areas of shipping and returns management, logistics, warehousing, electronic payment processes;

  • Establishment of secure electronic and mobile processes.

In the 'digital market development' module the following services are fundable:

  • Development of a company-specific online marketing strategy;

  • Establishment of a professional, legally compliant website;

  • Use of external auction, sales or service platforms as well as social media tools, website monitoring and content marketing;

  • Subordinate business processes of an online shop, such as the provision of goods and payment processes;

  • Advice on the various aspects of professional online marketing.

In the 'IT security' module the following services are fundable:

  • Risk and security analysis of an existing or newly planned operational ICT infrastructure;

  • Measures to initiate/optimise operational IT security management systems;

  • Creation of an independent IT operation.

Consultancy services in a selected main module with any necessary secondary modules are funded with a funding rate of 50% to a maximum daily consultant rate of €1,100. As a beneficiary, the company only pays its own contribution to the consulting company. The maximum amount of funding is 30 days within a period of six months. Interested companies may find application forms on the website of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. The programme will be available until 31 December 2021.


The following updates to this measure have been made after it came into effect.

27 December 2022

At the end of December 2022, the Federal Government published the funding guidelines for the go-digital programme. The new funding period runs from 1 January 2022 to 31 December 2022. In addition to the existing modules, two new modules were added. With the new guideline, companies can now also apply for funds in the following areas:

  1. Digital stratgey: Companies can apply for funds to develop their own digital strategy.
  2. Data competence ("go-data"): supports SMEs in developing business models relating to the developing data economy. Especially small SMEs are to be supported in this area that offers potential for economic development but also is associated with taking risks.

With the new funding guideline taking effect, new consultancies can also apply for becoming an authorised go-digital consultancy.

Use of measure

An answer to a parliamentary request for more information is available for the pilot phase of the project. According to the federal government's answer, 24 consultations led to financial funding in the pilot regions North-Rhine Westphalia and Saxony in 2015. In total, funding worth over €113,500 was granted during this stage. In the first four months of 2016, 86 consultations were successful and led to a funding with total worth over €605,000. Numbers of total applications or consultations held are not available. However, the pilot was deemed as successful and was rolled out all over Germany in 2017.

One of the main advantages of the programme is its low administrative or bureaucratic burden for companies as they need to cooperate with a consultancy service. Companies using the programme receive support with all steps of the process. In addition, some 250 consulting services are available all over Germany. These consultancy services provide expert knowledge, especially for small- and medium-sized companies, and cooperate closely with research institutes or universities. 

The programme is mostly used by service businesses and not so much by businesses from other sectors (such as crafts). In addition, application procedures need to be assisted by a consultancy. However, if done properly, a high share of applications is approved.

In July 2021, the final evaluation of the programme's funding period (2014-2021) was published. It shows that the programme reaches its main targets and there are not many deadweight losses regards the usage of the funds. The majority of the funded companies and authorised consultancies reported that the height of the financial support as well as the running time of the programme is suitable for their purposes.

Authors of the evaluation also elaborate on potentials to improve the programme. Amongst other things, the evaluation highlights that two area should be addressed by the programme additionally. These are:

  1. Funding and accompanying small- and medium-sized companies in developing their own digital strategy. As the evaluation shows that smaller companies with up to 100 employees often do not run their own IT department or have an IT specialist on board. Given this situation, the strategic development of a digital strategy often remains incomplete.
  2. Funding and advice should also be directed to small- and medium-sized companies wishing to develop business models related to the emerging data economy. Though this field offered many potential opportunities, risks were also high for smaller companies to venture into this business area.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Does not apply to workers SMEs
Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
National funds

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Unknown Unknown
Form Not applicable Not applicable

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • Unknown
  • Main level of involvement: Unknown



Views and reactions




Eurofound (2022), go-digital, measure DE-2017-27/2691 (measures in Germany), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,


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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.