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[25 APR 01] CW2000 NEWS
CW2000 On Target

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.

C W2000 staffThe 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 communication technologies.

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.

The sixteen-strong CW2000 team, which is based at Coventry University's TechnoCentre, is headed by Klitos Andrea, seconded from the University.

He said they were expecting to reach their target of assisting 500 companies by the end of 2001:

"Many businesses 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 performance."

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 project, commented:

"Recent research 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.

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CWN / CW2000 / 25 Apr 01
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