Call for Proposals: Establishment of an online information service on B2B e-marketplaces

July 10, 2003

Brussels, 09 Jul 2003

Full text of the Call

Download page for related documents contact details and further information

Deadline 22/08/2003


I) Objective of the call

The objective of the call is to create and maintain a European online "B2B e-marketplaces portal" to facilitate access of SMEs to neutral and reliable information on B2B e-marketplaces and business partners and to provide them with guidance to select the most appropriate and trustworthy e-marketplaces and business partners, thus helping SMEs to take maximum advantage from participation in e-marketplaces. The online information services should be made available as widely as possible and preferably within all Member States, the acceding countries, the candidate countries and the EEA EFTA states and in all relevant languages.


The main task is to set up, maintain and operate an online information website, providing, ideally, the following services:

  • A database of existing European B2B e-marketplaces, providing neutral, reliable and up-to-date information on e-marketplaces, including in particular: the type of goods and services traded online, the trading functionalities, the number of participating companies and the number and value of transactions that take place via the e-marketplace. In addition, the database should provide information on potential trading partners, such as the country of establishment, registration number, legal form, etc.

  • The editing and publishing of a handbook on B2B e-marketplaces, with all relevant information on the different types of e-marketplaces, their potential benefits and risks and how to effectively participate in them.

  • A set of customised services to provide personalised guidance and assistance to SMEs concerning B2B e-marketplaces, in particular:
    • A checklist for self-assessment to guide SMEs in the selection of the most appropriate e-marketplaces, resulting in a list of B2B e-marketplaces that would best suit their needs. This checklist should consider a number of criteria, such as the type of products and services to be traded, the trading functionality, the trustworthiness of the e-marketplace etc.

    • A question and answer service to provide personalised information and assistance on specific questions that SMEs may have in selecting the most appropriate e-marketplace. This service should be provided at regional or national level, thus allowing SMEs to address questions in their own language. Frequently asked questions that could be of interest to other SMEs should be identified and made available in English.

    • A "hot line" service, at national level, to allow for complaints of SMEs on unfair behaviour in e-marketplaces (e.g. in online auctions). In this context, links should be provided to the E-business Legal Portal website (ELEAS project) for further legal assistance.
  • The provision of an independent rating system to evaluate the economic relevance and the trustworthiness of European B2B e-marketplaces, based on neutral assessment of existing e-marketplaces, including the number and volume of transactions, the availability of transparent policies on participation and exclusion rules and on contractual and membership terms.

  • The collection and dissemination of best practice, based on practical experience of SMEs in B2B e-marketplaces, reflecting the situation in specific industry sectors.

  • The collection and dissemination of codes of conduct developed by industry sectors for B2B e-marketplaces, in particular for online auctions.

  • A list of events / conferences on B2B e-marketplaces. Due attention should be given to the technical aspects and the design of the website, ensuring fast connectivity, a user friendly design, appropriate search options for the database etc. In addition, special emphasis should be given to the promotion of the information services at national level and to the development of a policy to ensure the self-sustainability of the project after the end of the funding period by the European Commission. Furthermore, the selected proposal should prepare an annual report to the European Commission, providing feedback on the usage of the portal, on frequently asked questions, on the type of complaints raised by.4 SMEs through the "hot line" and on the impact of the information services on the effective participation of SMEs in B2B e-marketplaces.

    The duration of the project would be 2 years. The first six months will be devoted to the design of the website and the preparation of the content. Subsequently, the information services will be fully operational. The closing date of the action is thus 24 months after the starting date of the action.


    This call for proposals is addressed to business associations, Chambers of Commerce, Euro-Info- Centres, trade promotion organisations or other non-profit organisations with special expertise in the field of B2B e-marketplaces.


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