I had been wanting to write about the Digital Kit and the collateral damage of the Government’s plan to encourage the digitalization of Spanish companies for some time. And I say collateral damage because of the serious damage that this alleged aid is causing to small businesses and freelancers in the digital sector that offer web design, digital marketing and cybersecurity services, as is our case.
It turns out that, to be Digitalizing Agent, that of which so many large companies are boasting in order to capture the largest number of customers, bypassing small companies and freelancers in the sector, you must meet a series of requirements, among them is to have an accumulated turnover of 100,000 in the two years prior to the submission of the application for membership, or 50,000 euros in the previous year, in projects similar to those to be developed in any of the categories of digital solutions.
Who is eligible to become a Digitizing Agent?
Well, obviously not a small company or a self-employed person, only large companies can take advantage of the Next Generation funds of the European Union, which really is the one that puts the money.
Among these large companies, we find giants in the telephony and television sectors. And of course, who is capable of competing against companies of that caliber?
But… here’s the catch, it’s not really these telephone and internet service providers that do the work for the self-employed and SMEs that apply to join the Digital Kit.
The truth of the Digital Kit or, at least, our truth…
From the opening of the application period until the first grants have started to be awarded, there have been many strange and dubious moral issues on the part of some of the Digitizing Agents…
And, as it could not be otherwise, subsidy-hunting scavengers are on a rampage, and the Digital Kit is the perfect reef for them. Let me explain…
It turns out that, as I said at the beginning of the article, telephone companies, driving schools, banks, and even some dental clinics… have taken the plunge and, overnight, their employees have become web designers, community managers, SEO consultants, etc. and have started offering their own digitization solutions. But are they really your solutions?
The Digitizing Agent Trap
No, your bank manager has not taken a crash course in web design or SEO positioning, nor is he going to get in front of his cell phone to record reels for your instagram.
What happens is that these large companies are subcontracting agencies that, in turn, subcontract freelancers to do the dirty work, as always, in exchange for two bucks.
And now you ask yourself, “What’s it to me? What do I care whether Movistar or Manolito does the work for me? As long as I have my new website…
The harsh reality of digital kit. 🧵– Sir Loko (@realsirloko) November 19, 2022
This week as an SL owner and self-employed my bank invited me to a meeting for the Digital Kit (Yes, apparently my bank manages the help) and from the meeting I think I can extract some truths about the help. pic.twitter.com/qPwJrYYW6u
And that is the kit of the matter, indifference, that variable with which our politicians play with to do what they consider without facing consequences. How is it possible that companies outside the sector are getting their claws into the subsidies, harming the companies in the sector and no one, absolutely no one, is controlling this situation?
What is the modus operandi of these Digitizing Agents?
Driving schools, banks, telephone and television companies… and many other companies in sectors that have nothing to do with web design, SEO positioning, social media management or digital marketing process the application for aid, subcontract an agency and this, in turn, in many cases subcontracts to freelancers or freelance collaborators.
The final employee sets a price, for example, the management of social networks for a year for 80 euros per month, the agency charges the service for 190 euros but finally, the Digitizing Agent, processes the support for a value of 490 euros per month.
And so with everything, the design of the web pages, the positioning, the web maintenance… They offer you a low quality service for the price of a premium service and of course, the final results are really garbage.
The problems of the Digital Kit
As is evident, for a real price of 80 euros per month to manage a social network, the final worker is not going to create a single image or video reel unless you pay for it separately. You will have to provide them with the content, so that they can simply upload it to your networks… The perfect business, charging for uploading photos to a profile, with no strategy or sense.
And what about websites created under this outsourcing system? More of the same… they sell you a website that is going to be the first in Google, but analyzing these sites, you find real aberrations in terms of SEO that do not take into account virtually any of the guidelines set by Google itself.
But that doesn’t matter… the point is to make money, whatever it takes, offering services like hotcakes, of poor quality and that do not guarantee any result to the companies that request the service. Digital Kit with the illusion of improving their business, that they will end up having to put themselves in the hands of true professionals who will solve their disasters under the magic of the Digital Kit.
But anyway… in case anyone still doesn’t know what the Digital Kit is, here is a little explanation of the theory on paper.
Some questions about the Digital Kit.
What is the Digital Kit?
The Digital Kit is a rather debatable initiative of the Spanish government to distribute European funds from the Next Generation program to promote the digitization of companies in the European Union and, in this specific case, the digitization of Spanish companies.
Which companies can order the Digital Kit?
The Government has established three segments to organize the applications in a staggered manner, we suppose to avoid saturation of the Administration and to avoid delays… something that, in our opinion and taking into account what we hear daily, has not been achieved because the payment of aid is being delayed for several months….
But anyway, let’s move on. These are the segments:
- Segment I: Companies with between 10 and less than 50 employees. Start date for submission of applications: 15/03/2022 at 11:00 a.m. – End date 15/03/2023 at 11:00 a.m.
- Segment II: Companies with between 3 and less than 10 employees. Application start date: 02/09/2022 at 11:00 a.m.
- Segment III: Companies with between 0 and less than 3 employees. Application start date: 10/20/2022 at 11:00 a.m.
How do I order the Digital Kit?
The procedures are very simple and you can do them yourself through the official portal of the Digital Kit, you only need to have a valid digital certificate or the Cl@ve system and follow the steps indicated. But if you don’t have time, the digitizing agency can do the paperwork on your behalf.
Where to find a Digitizing Agent?
On the official Kit Digital website you will find a list of companies participating in the program, organized by province to make it easier for you to find the right company.
How do I know if I have been granted the Digital Kit assistance?
If you have completed the procedures yourself, on the official website of the Digital Kit you can access your Private Area and find out the status of your application. If it has been processed by a digitizing agent, simply ask your contact.
Who charges for the Digital Kit?
Payment for the Digital Kit is made directly to the digitizing agents. You won’t see a penny.
For this purpose, the digitizing agent must present certain documentation that proves that the work has been carried out and that it meets the requirements. The Public Administration will carry out the necessary verifications and will finally order the payment of the subsidy.
The digitizing companies will be paid 70% after three months, once the solution has been implemented. The remaining 30% after 12 months. Or at least, that’s the theory….
For which areas of my business can I request the Digital Kit?
The Digital Kit grant can be applied to create or improve 10 solutions that are essential in day-to-day business:
- Website and Internet Presence, up to 2.000€.
- E-commerce, up to €2,000
- Social media management, up to 2,500€.
- Customer management, up to €4,000
- BI and analytics, up to 4,000€.
- Virtual office services, up to 12,000€.
- Process management, up to €6,000
- Electronic invoice, up to 1.000€.
- Secure communications, up to €6,000
- Cybersecurity, up to 6.000€.
If your project budget exceeds these amounts, you will have to pay the difference to the digitizing agency.
And, be very careful with the contracts you sign, in the event that the final project is not approved by the Administration, you may be forced to pay for all the work because, of course, the Digitizing Agent is not going to do a free job…
What is the maximum amount I can be granted?
- A maximum of €12,000 for SMEs with between 10 and 49 employees.
- Up to €6,000 for microenterprises with between 3 and 9 employees.
- Up to €2,000 for self-employed with a maximum of 2 dependent employees.
Our conclusion on the Digital Kit
The Digital Kit programIn our opinion, this is nothing more than a new failed initiative of the Spanish government which, far from promoting the modernization of Spanish companies, is harming both the companies in the sector that already offered these services and the requesting companies, which receive services of extremely low quality that are unsustainable over time.
The Digital Kit is an initiative destined to fail due to the lack of control over the type of companies that manage to register as Digitalizing Agents and the scarce follow-up given to the destination of the European Union’s Next Generation European funds.
If you really want to modernize your business with a new website capable of ranking well in Google or you want to boost your social networks in an orderly way with a well-defined strategy or you want to increase the security of your computer equipment, networks or websites… avoid falling into the trap of Kit Digital and trusts in quality agencies and professionals, without intermediaries or salesmen.