The European Union has huge differences between regions. A central reason for thsi situation is the disadvantage that rural and semi-rural areas have in terms of gaining access to the latest technologies, which are best supported in larger urban areas.

The aim of Regional Strategies ans Solutions to Enhance ICT (ICT for SMEs) is to strengthen rural regions through the implementation and use of ICT for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), helping to overcome the disadvantages faced by businesses in these areas.


The main outcome is to improve access by SMEs to ICT and to reduce the current disparities in service support between rural and urban areas. This includes the creation of regional SME Support-Centres which connects SMEs, local authorities and the transnational partners. Outcomes als include on-site support to provide technical assistance for ICTs, the running of training programmas through e-learning and workshops and conferences. Web-space is provided to allow business-to-business transactions (B2B) enabling e-procurement and e-commerce, and best-practice solutions are developed for SMEs and made available across the North Sea region.

ICT for SMEs is divided into three modules:

  • Strategy Development which investigates the problems, needs and requirements of SMEs in using ICT. This includes a description of available state of art techniques and initial development of possible solutions for SMEs.
  • Regional Support Structure builds a regional support-structure that is tailored to the prevailing conditions in the regions. The regional SME centers offer education to locally based partners within this module.
  • Web Platform provides an internet-based communication platform for both SMEs and the project in general. The platform is used to disseminate project results and for video conferencing and also includes an information centre about the project partners.

General information

Web: www.ictsmes.rkk.no

Lead partner: Landkries Osterholz (D)

Contact: Ulrich Müller eu-beratung@landkreis-osterholz.de
ProArbeit kAÖR Pappstrasse 3, D-27711 Osterholz-Sharmbeck, Germany

Project duration: February 2003 until November 2006

The project is part-financed by the European Interreg IIIB North Sea Region programme. The ICTs4SMEs project has partners from Germany (Landkreis Osterholz and ProArbeit gGmbH, Schleswig-Holstein Wirtschftsakademie), Belgium (Syntrawest and Unizo), The Netherlands ( Alfa College, Noorderpoort College and MBK-Noord), Denmark (Sonderjyllands TIC & ErhvervsCenter, South Jutland Regional Business Development Centre and STEC), Sweden (Arvika Näringslivscenter), Norway (Rogaland Training and Education Centre, Tyfylke IKS, Dalaneradet, Stavanger University College and Rogaland County Council- and the United Kingdom (Napier University, Edinburgh - Representing Eastern Scotland).