Rural perspectives on digital innovation

Experiences from small enterprises in the Nordic countries and Latvia


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The Nordic countries are already at theforefront of digitalisation in Europe.The Baltic States show a more mixed performance,but still score around or above average on theEuropean Commission’s annual measure of digitalprogress, the Digital Economy and Society Index(DESI).Despite this positive development overall,disparities remain with respect to digital developmentwithin countries; with rural and sparselypopulated areas often lagging behind on theFigure 1: Digital Economy and Society Index, 2019.Data source: European Commission, 2019f.availability of digital infrastructure and theadoption of digital technologies. As such, thisproject sought to provide a rural perspective on thesecond goal: Strengthening the competitiveness ofour enterprises through digitalisation. Specifically,it aimed to demonstrate how smart, sustainableand inclusive approaches to digitalisation can beused as a tool to increase the competitivenessand attractiveness of rural areas by exploring thechallenges and opportunities for small enterprisesin rural and sparsely populated areas. The projectwas funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers forDigitalisation (MR-Digital), the Nordic ThematicGroup for Innovative and Resilient Regions 2017-2020 and the North Atlantic Cooperation (NORA)and included a baseline study, local workshopsand a webinar series. Its primary focus was theNordic countries and Latvia; however, data is alsoprovided for Estonia and Lithuania where possible.
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