HC Deb 02 March 2000 vol 345 c337W
22. Mr. Connarty

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what action he is taking to provide a network of support for those businesses which trade on the internet. [111553]

25. Ms Moran

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what further measures he intends to take to assist small businesses to take advantage of e-commerce. [111556]

Ms Hewitt

We have established a network of 100 support centres throughout the UK under the Information Society Initiative (ISI) at which businesses can get impartial, jargon-free advice and support. In England, these Centres will be fully integrated into the new Small Business Service.

We have also worked with the digital content sector—which includes many key service and content providers for e-commerce based businesses—to agree with them an Action Plan for Growth. This was published on 29 February and copies are available in the Library of the House. We are now working in partnership with the newly formed Digital Content Forum to take forward the Plan's proposals.

Beyond this, work is under way to develop a new, industry led mentoring scheme for internet based start-ups, building on recommendations in the Performance and Innovation Unit's report e-commerce@its.best.uk.