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  • ISSUE 3/2000


  • This article is the first in a two-part series about the growing opportunities to provide back office services to international firms, public-sector agencies and non-profit organizations. Adapted from ITC's new publication, Offshore Back Office Operations: Supplying Support Services to Global Markets, these articles are designed to raise awareness about the market opportunities for developing countries and share successful strategies and best practices.

    The seeds of innovation need fertile terrain in order to grow. Innovation strategy is most likely to succeed when it complements service excellence, quality assurance, customization and bench-marking strategies.Export success depends on several strategic factors, only one of which is innovation. In fact, it is important to think through an optimal level of innovation. With too little innovation, you will lose market share; with too much, you will have trouble assuring consistent quality and may lose customer loyalty.

    A network of Peruvian housewives is using the Internet to bake cakes ordered by Peruvian expatriates and deliver them locally. The start-up e-business, Tortasperú, came into being with the assistance of Red Científica Peruana (RCP) and E-connexions, two Peruvian NGOs. RCP is based in Peru; E-connexions is based in the United States, but is composed of expatriate Peruvians who work entirely via the Internet. This case provides a practical example of how organizations can work together to foster e-trade for small businesses in developing countries.

    Understanding e-finance trends helps both firms and trade development professionals to be more internationally competitive.

    © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 3/2000 Old business in new ways, but also new business opportunities: this is what e-trade is all about. The global marketplace in many ways is a virtual one, but it is driven by the same business realities as traditional exchanges in

    The case of Malta shows how a national trade promotion organization can help SMEs take advantage of the Internet to boost exports.In Malta, trade promotion necessarily starts with creating visibility for the country. Due to its small size, foreign investors and potential commercial partners do not see or hear enough about Malta to appreciate its potential as a supplier of goods and services. Few people know that Malta manufactures and exports a broad spectrum of products ranging from sophisticated industrial equipment and semi-conductors to general consumer goods such as giftware and furniture, to management and financial services. Few know that Malta's export-per-capita ratio exceeds that of some of the most developed economies.

    "Independent of income levels, more people have been able to enjoy access to what had previously been perceived as a status symbol. RCP has contributed to strengthening civil society."

    Are Australian firms ready to use the Internet as a means to join the global economy? And what lessons can be learned for developing countries from the Australian experience, especially for small firms located in rural areas?

    ITC's ApproachRaise awarenessITC builds awareness of e-trade issues through online services, practical guides for small and medium-sized enterprises, and projects such as its Executive Forum on National Export Strategies, for which the theme this year is "Export Development in the Digital Economy".

    Behind every success is hard work, substantial risks, sleepless nights and - not least - the bit of luck that can make the whole difference. This article looks at elements that made the world's first Internet coffee auction (December 1999) a success. Lessons are described here for others to learn - but also to avoid false expectations among the coffee growers who have started to say: "Getting my coffee on the Internet would change everything - for the better."