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Main lines of project activities:
- Raising awareness of ICT benefits and advantages in businesses;
- Conducting a wide information campaign concerning the use of existing information services;
- Providing project visibility amongst RK enterprises;
- Providing SMEs of RK with internet access and other up-to-date ICT;
- Organization of trainings and consulting for SMEs in effective utilization of information technology, adjustment of ICT kit to enterprises’ business; raising production efficiency by creating and using information resources, as well as by their marketing application;
- Creation of capacity to provide coordinated Internet-visibility of Karelian enterprises’ operation, based on permanently functioning, self-sustainable, customer-oriented and adjusted to actual enterprise needs, three-language business portal;
- Transfer of expertise on state-of-the-art developments in the field of ICT (such as web-based trade, reliable operations, smart-card systems, e-banking, Internet payment systems, and geographical information systems - GIS) to training, information and consulting services in business, and local organizations capable of providing information resources for accelerated development of RK;
- Creation of a business plan on GIS services utilization and development in RK business, with particular emphasis on the use of GIS technology in the forest sector; creation in Karelia of an independent competitive, market-oriented GIS service meeting the local business needs;
- Conducting a detailed feasibility study on possible development of web-based trade (retail or wholesale, within RK or related to other regions) and secure electronic operations, describing possible implementation cases of web-based trade in RK.
The project will last for two years (2005-2006) in the three territorial groups of Karelian districts, with the centres in Petrozavodsk, Kostomuksha and Sortavala, involving representatives from beneficiary organizations, entrepreneurs, and local government bodies in charge of SMB development.
The project target group is represented by entrepreneurs, leaders and employees of RK enterprises including:
Middle enterprises in industry, construction, forestry complex, wood processing, and others;
Small enterprises producing products and services in the forestry complex, construction, wood processing, local tourism development, IT business, etc.;
Small enterprises in commerce.
The project is expected to result in the creation of infrastructure ensuring support to SMEs and entrepreneurs in ICT-based business development in every sector of RK economy.
In order to provide project’s transparency and wide visibility, workshops with the beneficiaries will be conducted throughout the entire implementation period, along with questionnaire design, open discussions, and press conferences. No less than 150 private entrepreneurs in Karelia are expected to participate in seminars, training courses, hands-on workshops, and study tours.
The project monitoring is carried out by the Steering Group consisting of representatives of the Delegation of EU, RK Government – Ministry of Economic development, beneficiary organizations, and leading organization of the international consortium implementing the project.