The Regions of Dorset (GB), Arhus (DK), Hedmark (N) and Värmland (S), which created a working group within the AER, met in November 1997 in Dorchester to consider the question of how information technology could be used to support and develop micro enterprises in rural areas.
Each of these regions which share similar economic structures – majority of companies being microenterprises, sparsely populated areas, considerable distances from major cities etc. – could take advantage of information technology to overcome the disadvantages of rural areas and allow small businesses to benefit from joint working, marketing and training which might otherwise be denied to them.
Moreover, access to the Internet (E-mail, Web sites) enables them to communicate instantly with their clients and suppliers and provides the opportunity to market services and attract customers.
According to those who take part in the working group, many small businesses only use one tenth of what their computer systems are capable of and the challenge would be to help them to unlock the potential in their existing machines.
The meeting provided an excellent opportunity for exchanging expertise and, to prove the use of new technology, the region of Västerbotten joined the meeting by videolink!