The government's drive to encourage small and medium-sized enterprises to fully embrace the power of the Internet took a step forward on Tuesday with the opening of the UK's first eBusiness Club in Glasgow.
The initiative, the first of 16 planned for Britain, will provide local businesses with advice and assistance to help them use technology in their everyday activities. It is hoped that the eBusiness Clubs -- which are being set up by the Chamber of Commerce -- will boost e-commerce in the UK in the wake of the dot-com slump.
The eBusiness Clubs concept was launched last month. It is a Public Private Partnership, meaning that some money comes from the government, while companies such as BT, Cisco, Hewlett-Packard, Intel and Lloyds TSB are supplying the rest.
Launching the Glasgow eBusiness Club, e-commerce minister Douglas Alexander claimed that it was an example of government working with the business world to boost e-commerce. "The Glasgow eBusiness Club, the first to be launched in the UK, will make a real difference. It will help local firms benefit from e-business with expert advice," said Alexander.
Members of an eBusiness Club can attend monthly meetings to receive presentations on e-business issues, and workshops where they will learn Web design and Internet marketing techniques. Grants are also available to pay for training and implementation costs.