This chapter looks at a particular focus of e-government, that of support for business in general and SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) in particular. While this is only one segment of PIT (public information technology), it is an important one. Figure 1 illustrates this, showing overlap between the three areas of government, citizens, and businesses (note the diagram is not to scale). The chapter starts with an overview of the importance of SMEs to regional and national economies, showing why governments encourage their start-up, survival and growth. Following this, an overview of e-G2B (e-government to business) initiatives around the world is provided, with particular attention directed to the SME perspective. The chapter closes with consideration of future trends, conclusions, references, and keyword definitions.
Key Terms in this Chapter
vSME: very Small/Medium-sized enterprise; less than five employees (sometimes called Micro Business).
E-Government: The use of ICTs to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of government operations.
Regional Economic Marketplace: Web site supporting economic activity within a particular region.
SME: small and medium-sized enterprises; generally considered as less than 500 employees (less in smaller countries), and independently owned/operated.
E-Governance: Governance (the exercise of political authority and the use of institutional resources to manage society’s problems and affairs) of information and communication technologies and their use.
Community Portal: Web site aimed at geographical community or special interest group; goal is to provide a virtual community for users.
Micro Business: less than five or 10 employees (size definition depends upon the country); sometimes called vSME
ICTs: Information and communication technologies