Government reveals ecommerce scheme for SMEs

The department for business, innovation and skills admits a programme to help SMEs take advantage of digital will launch later this year

The government is working on a new programme to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with e-commerce.

The scheme was revealed to Computer Weekly during an interview with the minister for culture, communications and creative industries, Ed Vaizey, last week. However, it is not his department responsible for the yet-to-be-named venture, which will instead fall under the remit of the department for business, innovation and skills (BIS).

A spokeswoman from BIS confirmed planning was underway, but said few details were available to share with us at this time.

"BIS has been exploring how the public and private sector can work together to help SMEs make the most of the opportunities digital technology can offer, and how this can help firms achieve economic growth,” she said.

“This is currently being developed and we are securing the commitment of partners who can help deliver this work.”

What she did confirm, however, was the programme would launch during 2013.

The news comes as the government revealed its Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) – aiming to help small businesses create technologies to support the public sector – has generated over £100m worth of contracts since its launch in 2009.  

Some of the successful technologies already developed and purchased by public sector organisations include mobile security technology for the Home Office and assistive learning software for BIS.

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