“To work in partnership with client companies to develop a sustainable competitive advantage, leading to a significant increase in profitable sales, exports and employment” (Enterprise Ireland, 2001)
The Irish Government has committed itself to the idea of the ‘New Economy’ as it has been described by Enterprise Ireland. The government policy of encouraging technology companies to set up business in the country has been successful and e-government policy is now being implemented. Ireland was the first country to sign the joint communiqué on e-commerce with the US and the UK was just ahead in signing into law an E-commerce Act. With these two milestones in place, various government departments and agencies have set about modernising the structure of the information they make available. This has increased the general information available to all SMEs, as well as the information needed by those wanting to implement E-Business.
A number of initiatives have been put in place by the government which include an Enterprise development website, a Government Services website and a Procurement website that provides information on all public sector tenders
In addition, the availability of the Statute Book, hosted by the Attorney General, has benefited businesses requiring legal references.
In this chapter we have decided to concentrate on some of the services being offered as a result of the new e-government policy. A number of websites have been looked at from the viewpoint of an SME and the information that may be required in that role from Revenue issues through to information on employment legislation. Although we cannot describe the totality of the services on offer, we will endeavour to cover the main areas that are of concern to SMEs.
Business to Government (B2G): B2G stands for Business-to-Government and refers to the growth in supply of goods and services for online government procurement. The Irish government opened its procurement and RFT (request for tender) systems by going online (Enterprise Ireland, 2001)