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OECD, Working Party on Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises and Entrepreneurship, Electronic Commerce Benchmarking National and Regional E-business Policies in Support of SMEs: Presentation of the Final Results: The European Commission DG Enterprise Initiative (DSTI/IND/PME/RD (2002)2) (Geneva, Switzerland) (June 23-25, 2002) (full-text).


The ultimate objective of this benchmarking project is to better adapt national and European policies to promote e-business to the needs of SMEs across the EU, thus improving their efficiency. As such, this initiative is part of a broader policy approach, which is the subject of a continuing dialogue between Member States. This broader approach to policy development will comprise the following five main steps:

  • The first step is to obtain a clear picture about the adoption of ICT and e-business by SMEs. The analysis presented in this report is only a starting point. Further statistical work will need to be encouraged in order to identify the size and scope of the problems and issues to be addressed by specific policy initiatives in support of ICT and e-business by SMEs.
  • The second step is to benchmark existing policy initiatives in favour of helping SMEs to go digital against pre-defined criteria. The objective here is to identify examples of "good" public sector practice in selected areas. The issue in this instance is not to prescribe which policies should be adopted, but to set out the process by which this should be done, by learning from experience.
  • The third step is to present the results of this benchmarking initiative, including examples of good practices in policy making in this area to a broader audience of policy makers. This was to be done initially in a high-level conference in Brussels on 20 June 2002.
  • The fourth step will be to identify a number of quantitative targets to be achieved through a combination of national and/or European policies, for example in the areas of awareness and training, and SMEs support services. Such targets should be adapted to the differing needs of SMEs, possibly resulting in a range of priorities and policies.