Brussels, 09 Jul 2003
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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.
II) DESCRIPTION OF THE ACTION
The main task is to set up, maintain and operate an online information website, providing, ideally, the following services:
- 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 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.
III) TARGET GROUP
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.