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Review of 2008:

Client-oriented network to provide local support

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'We have laid some of the fundamentals which could form the foundation of a one-stop information facility for SMEs. We have to empower those in the EEN and in the FP7 NCP network to create this. Not only that they get the information and disseminate it properly, but that we enable them to make an immediate critical analysis if someone comes up with an idea,' says Reichert.

It will be difficult to bring this new breed of one-stop advice facility up to a sufficiently high quality across Europe right away. Technology will almost certainly have a role to play. Reichert suggests that something like a networked expert system, the quality of which can be assured, could form part of the solution:

'Everyone is an expert in something, but no-one is an expert in everything. You should be able to link locally into a large networked resource and get out of it the answer you need,' says Reichert. 'We have a highly complex problem of empowering SMEs in a knowledge-based economy in front of us and we have solutions to deal with such complex systems from an ICT point of view. We should try to bring both problems and solutions together.'