Government supported community portal regional e-marketplaces for SMEs: Evidence to support a staged approach
Business and Public Management
School of Management
The effective development of electronic marketplace systems with a community focus is not helped by the lack of theory and case studies. This paper analyses data from two government-supported horizontal community-portal regional e-marketplaces (REMs) for SMEs in Western Australia. One, launched simultaneously with the community portal, ultimately failed. The other was part of a staged approach, the REM introduced after use of the community portal and business directory were achieved. The staged approach leads to better focused REM planning, development and evaluation. Other factors affecting successful implementation are adequate funding; SME competence-building; wider community involvement in REM ownership, development and management; strong offline community relationships; e-business champions within the community; matching REM structure to the profile of the region and a good marketing plan. The results of the case study and the analysis of the literature are used to construct a staged model for effective implementation of horizontal community-portal REMs for SMEs. Our research also shows that while such REMs may successfully be used to encourage SME adoption of e-commerce, their raison d'ecirctre, structure, market-reach and target participants can combine to preclude them from being self-sustainable or profitable B2B exchanges in the short to medium term.