The understanding and implementation of robots and AI (Artificial Intelligence) into the workplace is becoming an increasingly important aspect of economic growth in Europe. In order to take advantage of the technological advances, SME Managers need the appropriate tools (including skills and competencies) to evaluate the value of automation and how to integrate robots and AI into the workforce. SME Managers also need to consider a range of factors linked to this integration such as workflows or social factors.

ROB-SME is a project co-funded by Erasmus+ program under the KA204 – Strategic Partnerships for adult education (September 2019 – August 2021) that aims to enable SMEs to effectively, and efficiently, introduce robots/AI into the workplace with a view to increase productively and make them more competitive. It is expected that over 800 participants, SMEs, SME support agencies, Enterprise Agencies, and training institutions and individuals, will, directly and indirectly, benefit from involvement with the project.

The objective of the project will be to develop, based on the Europe-wide SMEs’ needs survey and analysis, a series of training and support tools for SME Managers to enable them to assess the value of robots and AI to their business development and sustainability and then effectively introduce them. These tools will include a best practice guide and self-assessment tools and will be available online on an information exchange platform.

Considering short, medium- and long-term impacts, the project aims to develop and foster an interest of SME Mangers in the introduction of “New Age Technologies” into their business, provide more information on the topic and support them in their decision making. Once the benefits of using the project outputs are realized and embraced by SMEs, the overall impact will be to enable SMEs to effectively, and efficiently, introduce robots/AI into the workplace with a view to increase productively and make them more competitive.

The project successfully started with a Kick-off meeting held on 14-15 November in Kingston upon Hull.