ICT SOLUTIONS MED SMEs - ICT Solutions in the Mediterranean SMEs - 401
Eumedis Project number: 401
EC Project code: 401
Contract "signature" date: 2002-02-13
Planned start date: 2002-04-01
Planned duration: 36 months
Planned end date: 2005-03-31
Actual start date: 2002-04-01
Actual end date: 2006-03-31
Total Budget: 2.374.912,00 ?
Sector: Industry, research and innovation
The E-commerce is becoming more and more an area where important IT investments are made.
All major competitors in the IT arena, (IBM, HP, Sun, etc.) are developing a specific offer/strategy for E-commerce solutions. This project, in Euro-Mediterranean SMEs environment, will represent a strategic reference to show the performance capability in similar projects.
Both public and private companies are creating a specific demand as far as services deployed via Internet are concerned. To create new business opportunities in SMEs, specific projects must be defined with the aim to promote the development of SMEs information systems throughout the network, using new technologies. The present project aims to be a starting point for this development, with a special care to security features in order to avoid undesired accesses. The project needs to develop a specific experience in handling the different components as a whole solution, with integration capability based on forthcoming web based technologies and to develop a real reference in terms of building up extended e-commerce infrastructure, creating opportunities to be involved in local, regional or European projects having similar targets.
In these prospects the desired project results concern R&D, a starting package based on the concept of the platform, giving to the "business community" an offer based on a concept of building blocks and small integration activities with specific security package solutions, including hardware, software and services for the end users of the business community. The exploitation of the project results will arise on one side from the deployment defined by the partnership in the frame of the project, taking into consideration the high number of enterprises involved in the network of the development bodies and their strong commitment, on the other side from the development of a specific exploitation strategy aimed to apply the know-how developed in the project to the implementation of innovative solutions and to economically exploit the related products. The specific dissemination plan of the project results will define the exploitation potential and path.
The project addresses SMEs belonging to the Euro-Mediterranean Region, in order to support them to increase their consolidation and development potential, thus improving their competitiveness. In fact, Euro-Mediterranean SMEs have to face a range of crucial problems, such as low capitalisation due to small dimension and lack of suitable financial environment; weakness of financial reliability; the number and typology of clients, products and performances enabling them to be "qualified" as business partners is often considered insufficient by external operators; lack of capacity and resources to open to the international marketplace; the continuous need to find innovative ways to gain competitiveness, which means a great effort in terms of flexibility and creativity; the need to be open to the introduction of new ICT which for the SMEs has particular meanings and consequences.
ï¿½ Contribute to SME development in Mediterranean countries by providing IT solutions enabling enterprises to improve their internal work procedures, management of knowledge, and transfer of innovations, production and commerce.
ï¿½ Know the strengths and weaknesses of SMEs in order to face the challenges of the IT society.
ï¿½ Enable young graduates to meet that needs of SMEs regarding IT applications.
ï¿½ Set up innovative ITC solutions in Mediterranean SMEs.
ï¿½ Facilitate the exchange of experiences and information between participants.
ï¿½ Disseminate the project's results.
The ICT Solutions in the Mediterranean SMEs project aims at promoting ICT solutions among Small and Middle-sized Enterprises (SMEs) from eight Mediterranean Countries. On a more general scope, it intends to contribute to facilitate the access to the New Economy to the SMEs of this region.
The method is based on a research-action approach, the development of training and pilot projects in selected areas, the creation of a virtual space for exchanging experiences, benchmarking best practices and cooperation among the different actors in the SMEs fields, and the dissemination of results, related information and partnership opportunities.
The project work packages include: (i) Project Management and Coordination; (ii) A Survey on the SMEs needs in respect to ITCs; (iii) A Training Plan to prepare young graduates for meeting the needs of SMEs regarding IT applications; (iv) Pilot Projects aiming at setting up innovative ITC solutions in Mediterranean SMEs based on the survey results and with the help of those receiving training during the second phase or subproject; (v) Launching a Virtual Community at the service of the project needs for information, communication, experience sharing and benchmarking on best practices in the field; (vi) Dissemination of results.
The project will be based mainly on usersï¿½ requirements and on the organisational model of interaction between end users, service providers and development bodies (Virtual Community), thus obtaining results by merging innovation contents with existing needs. During the project realisation, iteration between requirements of clusters of enterprises and general considerations on the reference target will be realised on a continuous basis, in order to use specific considerations for general purposes and to maintain the desired level of action.
The approach will be based upon the establishment of a solution provision cooperation model among the actors of the virtual community: enterprises in a development or consolidation phase; business partners fora 'worldwide (i.e. suppliers, buyers, large companies,. public boards) available to provide all information about themselves in order to be qualified by the system and interact with clusters of companies and cooperate with them in the framework of the system; financial and real service providers mainly targeted to the specific requirements of enterprises at this stage.
Diversified for characteristics (i.e. tutoring 'IS post tutoring), frequency and nature (i.e. continuously and generic 'IS variable, selected and specific), prior content (i.e. training, informative, financial or consultancy) services providers must fulfil the main requirements of the development or consolidation stage; development agencies play different roles: "direct coach" to start ups and. "facilitator of opportunities" for SMEs in the critical path of their development and consolidation. The project will define the optimised solution concerning the access characteristics, the content, the methods of communication and the organisational model of interaction among the Virtual Community.
1. A total of 700 enterprises are interviewed. Result analysis to be carried out per country and per region.
The main ICT requirements are to be drawn from the results.
2. A total of 210 young graduates and other people are to receive ICT training.
3. A total of 40 enterprises agree to develop the pilot project and hire as many more trained graduates.
At the end of the third year, widely satisfactory results are attained in 80% of the enterprises.
All the enterprises apply the proposed solutions and improvements leading to an increase in production, commerce and innovative capacity.
4. A total of 500 people and enterprises are expected to join the Virtual Community during the first year, 1000 during the second year and 2000 during the third year.
The Virtual community is to be sustainable after its third year. Participation in the virtual platform encourages production, commerce and innovation between SMEs.
5. Three press releases are made each year per country in the two official languages: Arabic and French (or English).
The overall management is completely entrusted to the Leading Partner.
From the Technical Proposal no other approach is evident.
The Leading Partner has a sound experience in project management and has the technical and financial support of other leading organizations in Catalonia, including local Authorities (that should fund the share of global project cost to be supported by the Leading Partner) and the AECI (Spain Aid Agency).
Web site: http://www.ictmedsme.com
Project Coordinator: Xavier, MATHEU (more details ...)