The competence network for digitization and measures at SMEs in the south of Austria

The DIH SOUTH initiative was launched by institutions in the federal states of Styria, Carinthia, Burgenland and East Tyrol in order to provide the best possible support to SMEs in the southern region of Austria in accompanying the digital transformation throughout the coming years. The DIH SÜD involves partners from the regional research and innovation ecosystem of the participating federal states as central actors.

The measures offered by DIH SÜD, based on the experience and skills of the partners, range from the implementation of information events, innovation and technology consulting activities and the implementation of qualification measures to enhance the development of innovations. Therefore, a service package has been put together that focuses on the following topics:

Main topics

  • Production & manufacturing technologies,
  • security,
  •  Data Science – knowledge from data,
  • Digital business models & processes,
  • logistics as well as the subject
  • Human resources & young talent

Portfolio of Activities

The thematic priorities are also aligned with the respective economic strategies of the participating countries and optimally served by the partners in DIH SÜD. Measures and activities in the thematic priorities must help to proactively drive digital change in SMEs.


The portfolio of activities for digitization measures offered in DIH SÜD includes the following specific services for SMEs:

  • Test before investment (“test to invest”) in order to increase the motivation to invest. Experiment with new digital technologies and access to expert knowledge (technology and knowledge transfer, piloting and demonstration options).
  • Support in the search for investors (“access to finance”). Access to funding / funding at regional, national and European level. Access to financial institutions and investors to gain access to follow-up funding, to take test and experiment results to the next phase, and access to incubation and acceleration programs.
  • Digital education, training and qualification offers. Skills and training to get the most out of digital innovations: “Train-the-Trainer” programs, bootcamps, internships, exchange of curricula and training material, etc.
  • Further development of the ecosystem (“enhancing the ecosystem”). Development and networking of the innovation ecosystem and networking activities with other initiatives and existing programs.

The Silicon Alps Cluster has been supporting the Digital Innovation Hub since the beginning and is actively playing its role as a multiplier for the southern region.



The following partners gather in DIH SÜD to carry out measures and activities for SMEs:

  • JOANNEUM RESEARCH Forschungsgesellschaft mbH, Graz University of Technology, FH JOANNEUM Gesellschaft mbH, Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt, Carinthia University of Applied Sciences and BABEG Kärntner Betriebsansiedlungs- & Beteiligungs GmbH.
  • These are supported by: CAMPUS 02 Fachhochschule der Wirtschaft GmbH, Know-Center GmbH Research Center for Data-Driven Business & Big Data Analytics, Institute for Sustainable Technologies (AEE INTEC), ASMET Research GmbH, Lakeside Labs GmbH, Lakeside Science & Technology Park, build! Start-up Center Carinthia, UMIT Tirol Private University for Health Sciences, Medical Informatics and Technology – Campus Technology Lienz, Association N’Cyan and Research Burgenland GmbH.


In addition, multipliers in the southern region such as the KWF Kärntner Wirtschaftsförderungsfonds, the Steirische Wirtschaftsförderungsgesellschaft SFG, the cluster initiatives, the Federation of Industry (IV) and Chamber of Commerce (WKO), the Raiffeisen Landesbank Steiermark (RLB) and the Fraunhofer Innovation Center KI4Life are integrated into the network.

Furthermore, external service providers supplement and support the projects in order to be able to implement digitization measures in the region’s SMEs as best as possible on demand.

More information

Text by Stefan Schafranek (JOANNEUM Research) and Martina Eckersdorfer (Babeg), translated by Silicon Alps