Within the activity of Digital Transformation of MSMEs, the ACCESS project initiated a market assessment of digitalization services in Kosovo. This is the first step towards building the Digital Empowerment Initiative, a mechanism that will support MSMEs in digital transformation. The market assessment is based on a quantitative survey of 400 MSMEs across Kosovo, complemented by in-depth qualitative interviews with 20 digital service providers and 20 MSMEs. Main findings of the assessment show that the overall level of digitalization and digital adoption is extremely low, and in some parts of the private sector even inexistent. Digital tools most commonly used by MSMEs include websites, social media marketing, and basic accounting software, while advanced e-commerce platforms, CRM ERP, and optimization and automation tools are still uncommon. The study identified several barriers to MSMEs’ digital transformation such as:
- Low awareness among MSMEs of the concept of digitalization and the benefits that digital transformation can bring;
- Predominant export-orientation of local ICT providers, weakly serving the national MSME market;
- High implementation costs;
- Lack of internal skills and digital capabilities among MSMEs;
- Missing qualified consultants to guide local companies through the digital transformation process.
The market assessment also brings forward specific recommendations on how to build an inclusive and sustainable mechanism that will support Kosovo MSMEs in their digital transformation.