With the transnational North Sea Region (NSR) GrowIn 4.0 project coming to a close this April, all tools and methods developed and tested within the GrowIn 4.0 project to support SMEs in their digital transition have been finalised and made available free of charge well beyond the project end.

In the North Sea Region and across Europe, digitalisation stands as one of the key components in supporting regional development and decarbonisation of industry. To support small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in their digital transitions, especially those belonging to the carbon-intensive manufacturing industry, there is a high demand for open-source, experience-based and efficient methods.

The project has developed various tools and tested them for their practical use even after the project end. atene KOM has supported the transnational partnership in the development of such tools, including the “Human Resources Management (HRM) Industry 4.0” and the “Industry 4.0 Return on Investment (ROI)”.

One example of such tools currently being developed within the GrowIn 4.0 project is the Human Resources Mananment (HRM) Industry 4.0 Tool, which aims to provide a comprehensive overview of SMEs’ Industry 4.0 readiness in terms of Human Resources (i.e. how prepared all levels of staff are in terms of Industry 4.0). The idea behind this tool – the development of which is supported by atene KOM – is to access the competencies of employees to ensure they are equipped with the ‘skills of tomorrow’, and to identify skills gaps and weaknesses to be addressed to adapt to change.

A tool that has already been developed and tested within the GrowIn 4.0 project is the Industry 4.0 return on investment (ROI) tool. The ROI Tool provides a good starting point for companies new to the concept of Industry 4.0 and support others in visualising the financial impact of introducing Industry 4.0 into the company.

For the past four and a half years, the Interreg North Sea Region (NSR) GrowIn 4.0 project has supported manufacturing SMEs in their journeys toward Industry 4.0 by identifying approaches to imparting digital know-how. By pooling knowledge about the manufacturing industry and Industry 4.0 (i.e., digitisation), innovative methods, tools and concepts have been developed and made readily available in all partner languages (English, Danish, Dutch/Flemish and German). Thanks to close collaboration with local SMEs, companies benefit from newly acquired competencies and solution-oriented approaches in their digital transformations.

By the end of April 2022, the Interreg NSR GrowIn 4.0 project will come to a close. The international consortium of the extended project convened in Horsens, Denmark to highlight the finalisation of the project with the “Train the Trainer” hybrid event. Held partly online and partly in person at the VIA University College campus in Horsens, the training introduced participants from across the North Sea Region to new consultancy tools – and instructions as to how to use them – to digitally transform businesses to become “future-ready” to meet changing market demands and serve their customers’ needs, now and in the next 5-10 years. The consultancy tools presented during the full-day workshop are designed to support digital change in SMEs. During the hybrid training day, stakeholders received practical instructions from partners on how to utilise these consultancy tools in their professional practice.

All tools and methodologies identified or developed within GrowIn 4.0 have been tested in various SMEs across the partner countries of Denmark, Belgium, The Netherlands, England and Germany. The tools are freely available well-beyond the project’s end. You can explore the various GrowIn 4.0 smart manufacturing tools and methods here:


The manufacturing industry is very important for the North Sea Region economy and remains a driver for growth. Many of these SMEs are moving toward the fourth industrial revolution – Industry 4.0 – which is regarded as the “industry of tomorrow”. The approach of the GrowIn 4.0 project is to establish a strong partnership which pools knowledge on the manufacturing industry and Industry 4.0.

atene KOM supports the partnership in identifying tools and methods (e.g., the Human Resources Management (HRM) Industry 4.0″ and the “Industry 4.0 Return on Investment (ROI)” tools) to help accelerate SMEs, as well as developing new business models and strategies for Industry 4.0 technologies in manufacturing industries. atene KOM supports mainly the delivery of reports on training, education and recruitment of Industry 4.0 qualified staff, which entails a report on Industry 4.0 skills and knowledge, as well as testing developed methods related to human resources and tools to enhance Industry 4.0 skills and knowledge on 15-20 SMEs. atene KOM has supported the transnational partnership

More information about GrowIn 4.0 can also be found on the project website: www.northsearegion.eu/growin4