Virtual guide is to promote co-operation between SME

Researchers at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum have developped a virtual guide which is supposed to facilitate the co-operation between small and medium-sized entities (SME). The pilot provides SME with confidentiality agreements, online questionnaires, check lists, action plans and training guidelines. The service is the result of a joint project called “InVirtO” which was sponsored by the Federal Ministry for Education and Research.

The virtual guide is to improve the ability to co-operate of SME. Companies are offered a questionnaire for the self-assessment of their co-operation potential and have the possibility to look for suitable co-operation partners. In addition, there is a check list accompanying the initial phases of the partner search which facilitates the partner selection and provides guidance during the preparatory stages. But the scientists from the Bochum university have also come up with further developments such as e.g. a guidebook offering support in the preparation of international co-operations, an action plan for the build-up of co-operative structures as well as the so-called „virtual project meeting feedback” by the help of which project-related meetings can be analyzed. Another feature of the virtual pilot are E-learning modules. Undergoing a “web-based training” the employees of SME can improve their teamwork skills. All the pilot´s features are available in an interactive way on the screen, and there will be an immediate response to the filled-in questionnaires. GERMAN