A european-backed hi
tech project is on target to help 500 companies in Coventry and
Warwickshire take advantage of the Internet revolution by the
end of the year.
CW2000 project was launched last year, and has recently had to
increase staff numbers to cope with growing demand.
It is the brainchild of
the Business Support Partnership in Coventry and Warwickshire,
whose aim is to help local firms improve their competitiveness
by encouraging and supporting the adoption of information and
CW2000 offers firms a
heavily subsidised package that includes hardware, software,
technical advice, a high-speed connection to the Internet, and a
free two-year subscription to an Internet trading service.
With the number of
companies taking part in the project increasing, CW2000 has had
to recruit new staff to maintain service. Nine employees have
been taken on in the last four months to cope with increasing
demand for the packages.
CW2000 team, which is based at Coventry University's
TechnoCentre, is headed by Klitos Andrea, seconded from the
He said they were
expecting to reach their target of assisting 500 companies by
the end of 2001:
are keen to explore the use of the Internet and e-commerce,
but, either through lack of knowledge or support, are wary of
the complexities associated with introducing new IT systems
into their operations.
"CW2000 aims to
free them from these concerns so they can concentrate on
exploiting the technology, using it as a tool to improve their
The package is available
in two forms, one at no cost, which includes web-hosting,
directory services and independent advice, and another, which
includes the hardware and high-speed access to the Internet, for
a contribution as low as £600.
Availability of the
service, subsidised by the European Regional Development Fund,
is limited to businesses in Objective 2 areas of Coventry and
Warwickshire. Businesses also have to have less than 250
employees to qualify.
David Frost, chief
executive of The Chamber who are one of the main partners in the
by The Chamber has shown that relatively few companies fully
exploit all the opportunities technology presents. This
project helps them do that by putting small businesses online
and introducing them to the world of e-commerce."
Other partners in the
Business Support Partnership are Coventry University, Coventry
City Council's Centre for Investment, Warwickshire County
Council, and the University of Warwick.