Shaun Maxfield markets his A City Central B & B via the worldwide web and has attracted clients from all over the world.

His website provides up-to-date pricing and has good imagery to show his accommodation at its best. An enhanced listing in city website MK Web’s accommodation directory has resulted in his Bradwell Common business being consistently full.

Mr Maxfield said: ” The results have been staggering. We now get virtually all our business through the internet. We now have more customers than rooms and are looking to expand the operation.

“”As a small business we have to ensure that our advertising budget is spent extremely effectively and our internet campaign was definitely the right choice. Visitors to Milton Keynes from Europe, America, Japan and as far a field as Australia have all found our details.””

He was speaking as a regional campaign was launched, calling on small businesses in Milton Keynes to make more innovative use of information technology and broadband to compete for contracts all over the world.

The E-MK Partnership is one of nine sub-regional bodies set up by the South East England Development Agency to help companies to exploit their broadband potential to the full. The partnership, which includes Milton Keynes Council, BT, Milton Keynes & North Bucks Chamber of Commerce, Business Link and MK Web, aims to increase the awareness of e-commerce opportunities and provide grants to help SMEs to exploit these technologies.

Skills levels would rise and new jobs would be created, improving business sustainability, said a SEEDA spokesman.

The campaign is encouraging businesses to climb the e-adoption ladder, beginning with e-mail and internet access and culminating in a fully e-enabled organisation. Its target is to help more than 500 SMEs to improve their performance by July and to encourage micro-businesses, teleworkers and e-learners to investigate the benefits of broadband for their different sectors.

It is the third phase of SEEDA’s programme with the broadband partnerships. Since it began, more than 2,500 firms across the South East have received advice on how to use broadband and a similar number have been awarded broadband application grants.

The ‘e-adoption ladder’ was devised by Cisco as a way of charting a SME’s progress in using e-business applications. Its steps are:
Level 1 – e-mail, internet access
Level 2 – website, on-line communications
Level 3 – e-commerce, e-ordering
Level 4 – e-business, electronic payment
Level 5 – transformed organisation, e-enabled

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