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A longitudinal study of e-commerce growth in the regional context

March, Donna and Beynon-Davies, Paul ORCID: 2006. A longitudinal study of e-commerce growth in the regional context. Presented at: 29th Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (ISBE) Conference, Cardiff, UK, 31 October - 2 November 2006.

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In Wales, small and medium-sized enterprise (SMEs) play a central role in the economy and are an essential source of employment, innovation, entrepreneurship and growth. Adoption of information and communication technologies (ICTs) and electronic commerce (e-commerce) is expected to be a key driver of economic growth and increased productivity within the SME community and to prosperity within the region. However, despite the significant increase in investment for the information society in Wales, decision-makers often lack basic information about the situation within the region. This paper describes a longitudinal study of ICT and e-commerce adoption and growth among small and medium-sized enterprises in a regional context. Research undertaken in 2000 indicated a low take-up of ICTs and e-commerce by Welsh businesses. These findings provided the catalyst for the creation of the ground-breaking Opportunity Wales programme which aims to provide SMEs in Objective One areas of Wales with advice and support in achieving the benefits of ICTs and e-commerce. The eCommerce Innovation Centre (eCIC) at Cardiff University is a key partner and Centre of Excellence for the programme. eCIC and the Opportunity Wales programme recognised the importance of access to reliable information on regional development of the information society. To this end, within the programme, eCIC conducts a Wales-wide survey to enable evaluation of how small businesses in Wales are progressing in adopting and using ICTs and e-commerce. Every effort has been made to work closely with the Welsh Assembly Government Survey Approval department and Statistical Directorate in order to ensure findings are reliable and comparable to other surveys conducted by the public sector. This study and its associated annual reports is now a well respected source of reference used by both public and private sector organisations, for example the Welsh Assembly Government, local authorities, telecommunications regulators, researchers and educators. This paper will provide longitudinal data from key indicators. The paper also describes how the study has developed within the programme: it provides a source of empirical evidence on the progress of the Opportunity Wales programme while also supplying information which will be used not only to shape the development of future service provision within the region but also to inform policy-influencing and policy-making bodies in Wales. The paper concludes by considering the challenges for future work within a regional context. Before the current Opportunity Wales project ends in 2007, eCIC will conduct a further survey of Welsh SMEs’ progress in utilising ICTs and e-commerce. This paper will provide input relevant to anyone investigating the adoption of ICT and e-commerce within SMEs.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
H Social Sciences > HF Commerce
Uncontrolled Keywords: region; SME; e-business; longitudinal; survey; e-commerce
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Last Modified: 21 Oct 2022 10:21

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