Slow start for UK e-Business Week

The government's UK Online for Business campaign launches its e-business week on 8 October, with 170 events aimed at small and...

The government's UK Online for Business campaign launches its e-business week on 8 October, with 170 events aimed at small and medium-sized companies, but little in the way of publicity.

Pamela Taylor, senior e-business adviser at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), believes companies - particularly SMEs - will benefit from next week's event, but they will still have many questions about e-business.

"The week will take e-business a step further and be about more than setting up Web sites and e-mail," she said. "It will not provide any final answers but it will let people know what's out there and who to go to for advice. SMEs especially will benefit from an introduction to solid e-business principles."

Roger Till, director of external affairs at the e.centre e-trade organisation, told CW360 that the government should be more visible in the week's events.

"I would have liked government, as a user of e-business itself, to have been an active partner in the process," said Till. "A lot of local sessions from government departments and local government about their use [and planned use of Electronic Service Delivery] could have been very informative, especially for SMEs to see what will be expected of them in communication with government in the future."

Running from 8 to 12 October, companies such as BT, Cisco Systems and Lloyds TSB will aim to help firms onto the e-business adoption ladder.

Jenny Searle, director of UK online for business, said: "Much of the advice on offer would normally be charged for, so it is good to see organisations willing to do their bit to help the national effort."

Alongside the week's training and tutorial sessions, there will be a number of government announcements, including the release of the International Benchmarking Survey and details of funding to help accelerate broadband Internet services.

E-minister Douglas Alexander will also announce the government's Digital TV Action Plan.

Alexander said: "By increasing awareness of the support and advice available on e-business, it will help businesses to adopt greater levels of e-commerce and help UK business get to the future first."

Despite the importance of e-Business Week, the event's promotion has been subdued. A national press notice, including a statement from the e-minister, was unavailable until the Friday afternoon before the event.

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