A series of e-business projects which seek to guarantee small firms a better participation in the global trade arena was launched here on Sunday.
The European Commission (EC), the Amman Chamber of Industry (ACI), the Information Technology Association of Jordan ([email protected]), and the Euro-Jordanian Business Service Team (BST) have signed a contract on three e-commerce initiatives targetting small- and medium-size enterprises (SMEs).
Mostly funded by the EC, which is providing some $227,272 in grants and technical assistance, the programme includes an e-commerce business training plan, an e-commerce awareness campaign and the organisation of an e-commerce conference in 2001.
The training programme, expected to be implemented before the end of this year, aims to set up a pool of skilled managers and operations staff that will be able to deal with e-commerce management and solutions.
Here, 30 persons from the ACI, or any other business associations and independent consultants, will be e-educated free of charge.
"Two consultants from the EU will be visiting Jordan by the end of this month to look for potential candidates to join the training programme," said Ziad Masri, a business counsellor at the BST.
"These will be the nucleus that will train other managers in the second project," he told the Jordan Times.
The awareness campaign and roll out training scheme, will start once the first group of managers acquire the necessary e-skills.
Under this project, offered at nominal fees, 5,400 business managers will be taught to build new strategies suited to the type of goods and services they want to provide, among other things.
An e-commerce centre will be established in the ACI, to implement the project, along with other similar centres to be opened in other business associations.
When the first two projects are completed, an e-commerce conference, tackling the practical aspects of e-business, is scheduled to be held here in early March. This will be the point where INTAJ's work begins.
"We will be preparing for the conference, in coordination with the ACI and the EU," said Karim Kawar, INTAJ's chairman.
"The conference aims to spread awareness about the importance of e-commerce and its impact on boosting the competitiveness of the various industries," said Kawar on the sidelines of the signing ceremony.
The EC allocation, which covers 73 percent of the total cost, falls under the Development of Business Associations components of the BST.
"Everyone in the region, and in Europe recognises that the private sector is the vehicle by which the fruits of modernisation will be delivered," said James Moran, head of the EC Delegation in Amman.
""We are happy to be part of this initiative, which goes hand in hand with the directives of His Majesty the King, who has invested great efforts in promoting the use of IT and the Internet in the private sector... and which compliments the REACH initiative," he said.
"E-commerce and information technology are an important domain where chambers and business associations have to play a role and use new communication technologies," said Othman Bdeir, chairman of the ACI.
"It is worth mentioning here, that the ACI is acknowledged... as a focal point for the national industrial information cluster in Jordan," he told the gathering, while noting that the ACI will act as the leading business association of the project. — ( Jordan Times )
By Rana Awwad
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)