- the European Commission.
E-business is considered as the gateway for SMEs to take advantage of opportunities in global markets. However, many SMEs are still lagging behind large companies in using the Internet as an efficient business tool. In order to stimulate the usage of the Internet by SMEs, Member States have deployed a wide range of policies and instruments and have launched many different actions and initiatives. This raises the question of how to learn from and capitalise on the best practices achieved so far by benchmarking national and regional policies in support of e-business for SMEs. Therefore, in its Communication “Helping SMEs to Go Digital” [COM(2001)136 final] , the Commission has identified benchmarking as a major step to further promote the use of ICT and the Internet by SMEs.