Servicio de Información Comunitario sobre Investigación y Desarrollo - CORDIS

Training of SMEs in the use of electronic information services

The European Commission, Directorate-General XIII, has published a call for tender within the framework of its IMPACT II programme (Information Market Policy Actions), concerning the provision of support and training services for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the use of electronic information services.

The Commission is seeking an external contractor to develop and test, on an experimental basis, methodology concerning the creation of appropriate infrastructures for the transfer of information to SMEs.

The objective of the project is to develop and test a methodology for providing appropriate infrastructures (i.e. organization and methods) for the transfer of information to SMEs, thus ensuring that SMEs obtain access to the information they need in order to maintain and develop their competitiveness. Such infrastructures should take the form of strategic information resource centres able to advise SMEs about matters concerning information as a strategic resource, as well as being able to act as competent information professionals who can implement appropriate information infrastructures among SMEs themselves (information audit). The project itself will consist of four phases:

- Analysis of information needs and basic initial training;
- Definition of services to be carried out by the appropriate infrastructures in the future (information provision and information audit) and establishment of a business plan for these, including creation of awareness among groups of SMEs of the infrastructure and its components;
- Development of a methodology for assisting SMEs in establishing an appropriate framework for information provision (information audit) and the testing of this methodology in practice with two SMEs within each of the associations;
- Evaluation of the project.

One of the main objectives of the IMPACT II programme is to stimulate SMEs to use electronic information sources and services as a strategic resource. This project is one of a series of initiatives taken by the Commission in order to improve awareness of the existence of such services and the potential benefits of using them. These initiatives include the creation of a network of 30 national awareness partners (NAPs) who have assisted the Commission in awareness creation through arranging seminars, conferences, workshops and training courses for potential users, including SMEs. As a complement of what can be done through the NAPs, this project should respond to the need to improve infrastructures for the transfer of information to SMEs.

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