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Brussels, 21 January 2002

EU workshop to assess regional and local strategies for helping SMEs to Go Digital

Progress in implementing the eEurope action plan strategy to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to "go digital" will be assessed at a workshop in Brussels on 21-22 January. Ten months after the Go Digital strategy was launched(1), the European Commission, the Committee of the Regions, regional authorities and other key stakeholders will take stock of progress made to date, in particular with regard to benchmarking current policy initiatives in this field at local and regional level. Participants will identify the key obstacles to the take-up of electronic commerce and information and communication technologies (ICTs) by SMEs, and present success stories of public policies to help them go digital. They will also discuss possible future strategies and scenarios for SME-related e-business policies.

The workshop is part of a broader benchmarking initiative aimed at describing and benchmarking national and regional policies and instruments for the promotion of e-business for SMEs. This will help Member States and regions to assess their policies and identify best practices.

The workshop is intended for national, regional and local e-business policy makers, SME associations, academics, policy analysts and experts from international organisations. It aims to present a snapshot of current policy initiatives in support of e-business for SMEs in different countries and regions, and to enrich the list of e-business policies for SMEs based on additional input about regional/local initiatives in this area.

It will identify a number of measurable targets and indicators for enterprise policy in specific areas, e.g. awareness-raising and training, e-business support networks and the participation of SMEs in electronic marketplaces, including e-procurement.

Conclusions and policy recommendations will feed into a synthesis report on benchmarking national and regional strategies in support of e-business for SMEs, to be finalised by February 2002. This report, which will provide a clear picture of the take-up of ICT and e-business by SMEs, existing policy initiatives in support of e-business for SMEs and benchmarking methodology, will be published on the European Commission's Go Digital web site.

Further information about the workshop:

(1) IP/01/361

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