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Source: Canadian Bankers Association

Posted on March 4, 2002

      E-commerce is not a passing fad. From bar code scanning to email and from electronic data interchange (EDI) to the Internet and the World Wide Web, e-commerce is rapidly changing the business environment. Canada's small business owners want to better understand the e-business world and what it means for them. This is evident in their response to the Canadian Bankers Association's (CBA) e-commerce seminar for small business.

      From May 4, 2000 to June 21, 2001, the CBA, on behalf of the banking industry, organized 67 sessions of the seminar Preparing Your Business for the E-Commerce Age in communities across Canada. From Whitehorse and Vancouver to Halifax and Gander nearly 8,000 participants attended a seminar session.

      To ensure widespread access, the CBA made the seminar available to participants free of charge by underwriting the costs and worked closely with community partners to promote its availability. The CBA worked on this project in co-operation with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants and Industry Canada.

      A professional accountant with expertise in e-business delivered the two-hour non-commercial seminar. Participants were provided with information about trends in electronic business, business uses of the Internet, future opportunities and how to achieve success. Designed as a broad overview, the seminar also looked at issues that business should examine including security, privacy, regulations, warranty and service, returned merchandise, insurance claims and taxation.

      The findings of this report are based on evaluations that participants completed at the end of the presentation. The results show that small business owners left with new insight into the opportunities afforded by e-business and a better understanding of its multifaceted nature. The evaluations also yield insight into where they believe the private and public sector can continue to help in enhancing e-business acceptance and adoption.

      Key Seminar Findings:
- 97 per cent of participants rated the seminar as "good" to "excellent".
- 98 per cent of participants viewed that e-commerce would be part of their future business strategy.
- Security, privacy and confidence issues were highlighted as the key areas where more information would be useful.
- 90 per cent indicated that the public and private sector should continue to help small business deal with e-business issues, particularly in the areas of security, privacy and access to information for small business and the general public.

      The full report is available here.

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