UPC Hungaryʼs "Grand Tuning Show" concluded on Tuesday, with the company rewarding SMEs which have showed how to become even more successful via innovation and digitalization.
The gala featured State Secretary for Economic Planning and Regulation László György as a special guest, who outlined the importance of SMEs to the Hungarian economy.
"When we have a meeting with SMEs, it is only their third or fourth question whether they can upgrade their technologies," the state secretary said, noting that the main barrier preventing the modernization of these companies is often that they have no idea who to turn to, or simply there is a lack of trust. Still, he stressed that in the past few years, "Hungarian SME productivity grew the fastest in the EU," and that "we are ahead of serious changes."
Ildikó Bodon, UPC Hungaryʼs head of business services, outlined the main goal of the companyʼs business-boosting "Tuning Show."
"The point, apart from providing the companies a footing, is to help them use this footing as effectively as possible," she said. In UPCʼs case, the footing and the help meant a financial reward of HUF 1 million to each winning SME, and active assistance and advice from UPC to use it effectively. The companyʼs director of corporate affairs, Zsolt Kozma, said that "our mission is making digitalization accessible to more people."
The "Business for Businesses" award was won by accountancy and legal advice specialist Első Magyar Könyvelő és Pályázatíró Kft., for its "panic button" solution. The solution comes in handy for entrepreneurs under an audit by the tax authority, as once they press the button, it connects them to the company via phone, where they receive advice helping them to comply with legal requirements.
The "Innovation" award was received by Sevenem Hungary Kft., the company behind the hand-made sneakers under the Maklari brand. The company is planning to launch an application where clients can assemble their own unique shoes before ordering them.
The "UPC Business Tuning" award was given to entrepreneur Gábor László Szabó, the man behind We On Wood, a company specializing in custom-made wooden furniture. The firm asked for assistance in launching its own webshop, and the related SEO and PPC campaigns.
Apart from the three main winners, who will receive HUF 1 mln each, UPC recognized two further businesses for their effort: Innovativy Kft., the creator of "Periodbox," a box containing items making it easier for women to get through their menstrual periods; and Zeneszöveg.hu Kft., the company behind the idea of the "Dallamos Villamos" project, bringing music to Budapest tram commuters within the framework of a special event.
Apart from the awards ceremony, UPC also presented the findings of its digitalization research. The survey revealed that some 80% of consumers demand a strong online presence from companies, while only 33% of SMEs in Hungary believe that their everyday utilization of online opportunities is "very good."
At the same time, the research revealed that there are concrete benefits to going online: 66% of the surveyed companies have experienced a growth in customer traffic, and 60% have experienced growing interest thanks to the use of online tools.
There also appears to be a generational gap between entrepreneurs, as respondents between the ages of 20 and 35 generally considered the digital development level of their firms better than the generation above 40 years of age.
The most common contact method the surveyed SMEs offer to customers is still e-mail (80%), followed by social media (77%), and websites (63%). Contrastingly, only 10% of companies can be reached through mobile applications.