Most people would answer this question with a yes. And to tell the truth, I myself would probably say yes, I feel fit and confident in the usage of the internet. But how fit are we really with websites, social media and search engines? Since autumn 2018 our hub has a tenant that focuses on this topic. The association fit4internet is working on the increase of the digital competencies within Austria. I had the chance to talk to general secretary Ulrike Domany-Funtan about being a tenant in the weXelerate hub, their new website and their program.
weX: Thanks for meeting with me. fit4internet is relatively new in the hub. What do you think of it so far?
Ulrike: We really enjoy being here. Although we are an association, it feels like working in a startup (smiles). It’s a new, exciting project and full of innovation. The location of the hub is really central and it is easy to get in contact with important stakeholders as well as members. Being part of the hub makes it also easy to get in touch with startups. When you come through the door you immediately feel the vibe and spirit of startups. During meetings and networking we have found first synergies with other tenants. We are for instance in contact with der brutkasten and russmedia. Furthermore, iab has invited us to their interesting workshops and events that take place right here in the hub. I think there is great potential with so many players from different fields. We are always open for new ideas and projects!
weX: Are you currently working with startups?
Ulrike: No, but we are definitely planning to do so. At the moment we are still in the planning phase. The association was founded in May 2018, but we only started operating at the end of last year.
weX: Yesterday you announced a new website and new services.
Ulrike: Yes, we relaunched our website. Before the relaunch we did a demoscopic survey in order to find out where the Austrian population stands when it comes to digitalisation and digital competencies. Whether we like it or not, digital competencies are the fourth basic skill after reading, writing and doing maths. The survey showed that digitalisation was mostly linked to the use of computers, mobile phones and internet applications. However, there is a lack of knowledge that digital competencies go beyond that and include economic factors such as AI or automation.
On the fit4internet website we now offer a 4 step program: understand – check – learn – stay tuned. The check offers everybody to find out how well-developed their digital skills are. The Ministry of Digitalisation is supporting this initiative. Margarete Schramböck, who is currently the minister for digitalisation in Austria, emphasised that “in the past there have been many platforms for the older generation to brush up their computer skills. This new initiative addresses all people whether young or old as well as independent of their social or educational background.” fit4internet also offers webinars for free as well as gives recommendations for further courses with educational partners such as bfi or Wifi.
weX: That sounds really great. There is definitely potential for better digital knowledge. Thanks for the insight.
Ulrike: Thanks, my pleasure.
Foto: von links Sabine Herlitschka, Margarete Schramböck, Peter Oswald, Ulrike Domany-Funtan (Credits: BMDW/Martin Steiger)