The European e-Business Support Network is an initiative of the
European Commission - Enterprise Directorate-General - E-Business, ICT Industries and Services
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About eBSN / What is eBSN?
What is eBSN?

In its conclusions on the impact of the e-economy on the competitiveness of European enterprises of 6 June 2002, the Industry Council invited the Member States and the Commission to "intensify dialogue, exchange regularly experience, identify specific goals for e-business policies and to share best practices".

In response, the eEurope 2005 Action Plan, as adopted by the Commission on 28 May 2002 and endorsed by the European Summit in Seville on 21 June 2002, foresees the establishment of "an European e-business support network, federating existing European, national and regional players in this field with a view to strengthening and co-ordinating actions in support of SMEs in the field of e-business".

Facing the challenge of the new economic situation and with the vision of strengthening dialogue between different e-business initiatives at European level, the European Commission established the European e-Business Support Network for SMEs (eBSN). The main objective of eBSN is to federate e-business experts in Europe and to share experience and good practice in support of e-business for SMEs. More specifically, the objectives of the eBSN are:
  • To bring together real decision makers in the field of e-business, to share information, to discuss strategic policy orientation;
  • To validate existing e-business policies and to agree on targets for future e-business policies;
  • To provide a "one-stop-shop" for information about regional, national and European initiatives and funding possibilities for SMEs;
  • To organise special meetings of governmental e-business experts to share practical experience and to identify future challenges.
eBSN builds upon the results of the Go Digital initiative and specifically on a benchmarking study on national and regional policies in support of e-business for SMEs in 2002. The main lesson to be learned from this study is that many successful policy initiatives in support of e-business for SMEs exist in Europe but that their efficiency could be further enhanced by learning from each other and sharing best practise and information material. As part of enterprise policy, the eBSN is meant to be a tool to improve co-operation among existing e-business policy initiatives in Europe and to better use synergies between them.

Following the Commission's communication on "Adapting e-business policies in a changing environment", the Competitiveness Council of 13 May 2003 welcomed the Commission's initiative and invited Member States and Acceding Countries "to actively engage in the European e-Business Support Network for SMEs".

The eBSN is open to all relevant policy initiatives in support of e-business for SMEs in the Member States, the Acceding and Candidate Countries and the EEA EFTA States, which are willing to share experience and information. A standing invitation for expression of interest to join the eBSN is available.

A future priority of the eBSN is to extend its activities to the Acceding and Candidate Countries. To this end, a call for proposal will be launched in order to stimulate the co-operation between eBSN members with different e-business policy challenges in the same fields, reflecting different stages of e-maturity and building upon the most successful strategies in Europe. This campaign shall result in a series of targeted events, notably in the Acceding and Candidate Countries, addressing the objectives as described in the Commission's communication on "Adapting e-business policies in a changing environment".

By the end of 2004, the Commission will publish a Staff Working Paper on the results of the eBSN. The specific performance criteria against which this initiative will be measured, encompass participation indicators such as the number of eBSN members, indicators on the quantity and quality of deliverables such as the number of downloads of the European e-Business training toolkit as well as effectiveness indicators like the number of bilateral contacts initiated under the eBSN auspices.