Case Study - France ICT Adoption Program for Small Businesses
CAse sTudyFrance ICT Adoption Programfor small BusinessesIntel World Ahead ProgramPassport to Innovation and GrowthFrench government drives innovation and economic growth by accelerating ICT adoption among small businesses Le Passeport pour The Passport to the Digital Economy initiative, designed with assistance from the Intel® World Ahead Program, is helping small companies across France integrate ICT solutions. l’Économie Numérique (Passport to the Digital Economy) Accelerating ICT Adoption program has helped hundreds Small businesses are an engine of eco- France has more than 3.1 million compa- nomic progress in both mature and devel- nies, of which 2.9 million have fewer than of thousands of France’s small oping markets. A vibrant small-business 10 employees. To foster innovation and businesses compete more sector generates jobs, increases innova- growth among these small businesses, the tion, fosters an entrepreneurial culture, French government—led by the Ministry effectively in the digital economy. and enhances national competitiveness. for ICT and the Ministry of Commerce, Information and communications technol- Industry and Trade—developed a com- ogy (ICT) is an effective tool for building prehensive initiative, the Passeport pour this vital business sector and addressing l’Économie Numérique (Passport to the national policy objectives. Digital Economy). Despite its effectiveness, ICT integration Since it began in 2007, the Passport pro- can be challenging for small businesses. gram has helped more than 170,000 small Companies with 20 or fewer employees companies across France integrate digital often have limited understanding of how technologies to support innovation, eco- they can benefit from digital technologies nomic growth, and competitiveness. The and lack in-house technology expertise. Intel World Ahead Program supports the Many have limited funds available to Passport initiative as IT industry liaison acquire and maintain technology, and little and coordinator. access to ICT training and support.
suCCess sTory:Le mArChe mILITAIreLe Marche Militaire is an army surplusstore. Working with the Passport pro-gram, the store’s owner, Nadia Célérier,launched an online store in 2006.Interest in the online store was sostrong that Célérier had to rapidlyincrease the number of productsavailable through the web site. Withinsix months, the site had grown from50 products to 300, and today, mostproducts available in the physical storeare also available online.The company’s Internet sales nowrepresent one-third of revenue—andtotal revenue has increased nearly 50percent since development of the onlinestore. The online store costs little to runand maintain, and the company’s onlinepresence has also led to an increase inin-store visits.Web site: www.lesurplusmilitaire.frProgram Features• More than 750 ICT consultants provide training sessions for small businesses at over 550 locations across France.• An online purchasing guide provides small businesses with free information on more than 23,000 software packages and 450 product offers that include platforms, peripherals, and telecommunication services.• More than 1,500 resellers in 23 regions provide ICT-related services and support to small businesses.Results• From 2006 to 2010, France’s PC equipment rate (percentage of small businesses with one PC or more) rose from 72 percent to 98 percent.• More than 170,000 small businesses have obtained a digital passport.• Program expanding within France with plans to export to other countries.2
Five Steps to SuccessThrough the five steps described below, the Passport program has supportedthe growth of small businesses across France. The program has also created adedicated communication channel to expand connections between the ICT industryand small businesses.step 1: Partner with organizations Because CEFAC already worked with Since its founding in 1961, the Center forConnected to small Businesses and trained advisers for small businesses, Studies and Training of Trade, Services andIn France and many other countries, small the organization had the contacts and Tourism industries (CEFAC) has trainedbusinesses comprise a fragmented sector expertise to address the small-business more than 2,000 advisers to supportthat can be difficult to reach. While small community and train ICT consultants. the economic development of small andcompanies are often eager for ICT solu- medium businesses across France. Through the Passport program, CEFACtions, the business and technology eco- has trained and now manages 750 Today, CEFAC also trains ICT consultantssystem that supports these businesses consultants who are experts in ICT through the Passport program. Using itsis itself highly fragmented. Collaborative solutions for small businesses. In addition, training experience and existing connec-approaches are essential in these environ- CEFAC manages the Passport web site, tions to small businesses, CEFAC has beenments, where no one organization can which provides an online purchasing able to train 750 ICT consultants in justmeet the needs of all small businesses. guide, ICT reseller database, and other two years.The Passport team searched for the best essential resources for small businesseschannel through which the government (www.econumerique.pme.gouv.fr).could reach and connect with a broadrange of small businesses. Because small “The Passport program showsbusinesses rely on their local chambers ofcommerce, chambers of crafts, and vertical how crucial strong partnershipssyndicates, the program team sought an are. CEFAC worked extensively toorganization that was already working withthose networks. In France, this organiza- organize the relevant local networks,tion was CEFAC (www.cefac.com), which and Intel helped us engage with anow plays a critical role in the ongoingsuccess of the Passport program. wide range of industrial players and service providers.” — Jean-Claude Ermenault, director of ICT at CEFAC and director of the Passport to the Digital Economy program 3
suCCess sTory: step 2: organize the Training Process step 3: Improve Business Access to ICTLA mAIsoN mILLIère Once CEFAC agreed to promote the While building the training process, theLa Maison Millière is a restaurant with government initiative, the Passport Passport team also worked with the ICTan antique shop and teahouse that is team developed the training process, industry to develop end-to-end solutionsowned by Jean-François Lieutet. Now which included identifying hundreds specifically targeted at small businesses.63 years old, Jean-François is a self- of training locations all over France, This was necessary to ensure that onceeducated man who started his career creating training session content, and they received training, small businessesselling goods on the street. Little by building the Passport web site. would not be abandoned and in fact wouldlittle, he saved enough money to start be accompanied throughout ICT purchase The Passport team enlisted local tradehis own business. and implementation. organizations to host free ICT orientationLieutet had limited previous experience sessions at 550 locations across France, Intel helped the Passport team contactwith ICT, but through the Passport pro- including overseas territories. Led by the and collaborate with a variety of localgram, he quickly recognized the value 750 CEFAC-trained consultants, these hardware manufacturers, softwareit could add to his business. He now in- sessions provide the trade organizations’ vendors, resellers, and other technologyteracts with his suppliers and conducts small-business members with a detailed companies. Together, they developedalmost all of his sales and marketing introduction to digital technology tools ICT solutions that included networkingactivity online. The Passport program and their potential business impact. connectivity, specialized software, servicealso helped him become aware of social plans, and more—all specifically designed The trade organizations receive multimedianetworking sites, which he uses to to meet the needs of small businesses. presentation materials for the sessions,promote his business and communicate which they can customize according to The Program team also launched awith his customers. each industry’s requirements and con- recruitment campaign to engage withWeb site: www.maison-milliere.fr cerns. Training modules are available on resellers who could provide services 23 topics, such as how to create your own to very small businesses. The campaign e-commerce web site and how to manage rewarded the resellers, who generated customer and supplier communication new leads through the program. The with the help of ICT. campaign also benefited the government, which gained access to a valuable database Upon completion of the sessions, small- of small businesses that today includes business managers earn a Passport to the 1,500 resellers. Digital Economy certificate that entitles them to access the online purchasing guide and ICT reseller database. “Thanks to the Passport program, small businesses all over the territory have been oriented on the critical role that ICT can play in their business and how they can find local assistance.” — André Marcon, chairman of CEFAC and vice-chairman of the French Chamber of Trade and Industry4
step 4: Continually update Program • online tools. A new “train the trainer”Content and Tools online tool will help ICT consultants followThe Passport team continually refreshes a personalized learning path, share bestand improves key elements of the program practices with fellow consultants, andto remain relevant and to take advantage create new training modules. The onlineof changes in technology and business tool’s innovative, “bottom-up” approachrequirements. Recently, for instance, the will alleviate the need for the Passportprogram team has: team to develop content for all of the training sessions, as it will allow consul-• Developed new training modules tants to integrate their own experiences• Rebuilt the Passport web site from the field into new training modules.• Simplified the enrollment program • entrepreneurship courses for business managers for students. To prepare young entre-step 5: expand and enhance preneurs, Intel plans to partner withProgram Capabilities universities, chambers of commerce,The Passport program is designed to and business and vocational schoolsscale easily. Already, a variety of new to integrate entrepreneurship-relatedcapabilities have been added or are being curricula, content, and new courses.considered to deepen the connection • support for small-businessbetween education, entrepreneurship, partnerships. Small businesses inand employment: France can partner with related busi-• Trainings for new start-ups. Introduced nesses to expand their market reach by the Ministry of Industry in 2008, and capabilities. These government- the auto-entrepreneur program encour- supported small business “clusters” will ages creation of small-scale start-up soon be trained through the Passport companies. The Passport team provides program on how to integrate their dedicated training sessions for these separate ICT processes. The Passport new start-up businesses (see sidebar program will also provide advanced on page 6). training modules to help the businesses effectively expand their ICT usage. • Add-on programs. The French government plans to launch a second Passport program called the Passport for Sustainable Development. The program will rely on the existing struc- ture for training small businesses, and will focus on corporate social respon- sibility and other topics related to sustainable development. 5