Applied Research and Communications Fund Home Site Map Search Contact Us

Home > Programs > Innovation and Technology Transfer > LAURA


The LAURA project is part of the European Union's IST Program. It was launched on August 1, 2002 as an international, multi-sectoral attempt to design and develop electronic commerce zones (EC zones) in the less favored regions of Europe. The LAURA consortium is trans-national in nature, involving partnerships from different countries (Bulgaria, Germany, United Kingdom and Greece).

The main goal of this project is to introduce the latest electronic commerce business practices to participants n this project, which include local small and medium-sized enterprises and local business organizations, thus improving the companies' competitiveness, business efficiency and expanding their markets in European countries. The whole attempt is based on the concepts of Request-Based Virtual Organizations and sector-specific Service Level Agreements.

The LAURA project works closely with organizations from multiple industrial sectors in four European regions: South-Central in Bulgaria, Saxony Anhalt in Germany, and Epirus and Messinia in Greece.

The overall LAURA project objectives are fourfold:

1. Significantly improving SME competitiveness and business efficiency - especially within less developed regions - through the introduction of state-of-the-art electronic commerce;
2. Development of regional and interregional electronic commerce zones with an emphasis on interfacing with Associate States in order to guarantee a smoother integration environment with the European Union; a common project based on collaboration of local and regional authorities and administrations, and the exchange of experiences between different countries and regions;
3. Implementation of instruments and methods for achieving social and especially economic development in the less-favored regions;
4. Provision - by means of pilots - of important examples on how to respond to the new challenges of the emerging Information Society, which can then serve as examples for the spread of good practice within the participating regions as well as in neighboring ones.

As a result of this project an Electronic Commerce zone based on the concept of Request-Based Virtual Organization (RBVO) will establish in each of the participating regions. The zones will include:

  • Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs),
  • Business Organizations or Local Authorities,
  • LAURA Support Centers.
  • "Support Centers" are being established in each e-commerce zone both for intra-regional and external electronic trading. The purpose of these centers is to provide e-commerce support services for trading procedures, business co-operation and building of synergies between SMEs. Additional support services will include education and training to provide regional SMEs with the knowledge to access new technologies, to move beyond traditional business models and to take advantage of these technologies.

    The main outcomes of the LAURA project are summarized below:

    Business and Conceptual Levels

  • Improve the overall e-commerce awareness among SMEs in participating countries and raise the e-commerce adoption level for daily business practices;
  • Define a robust conceptual model for interregional and intra-regional e-commerce zones;
  • Elaborate Service Level Agreements (SLA) management and Business Quality of Service models and possible implementation guidelines.
  • Operational Level

  • Establish Support Centers in each of the selected regions both for internal and external electronic trading between SMEs
  • Technological level

  • Define a conceptual model of Request Based Virtual Organization (RBVO) expressed in terms of modern software engineering and e-commerce standards - UMM, UML, BPML, BPSS, ebXML, etc.;
  • Develop a framework and guidelines for designing, architecting and implementing RBVO-based B2B e-business networks;
  • Implement a system prototype which is based on the LAURA concepts, and validated in the four LAURA-participating countries.
  • The benefits for participating SMEs in the LAURA project are:

  • Improvement of their competitiveness and business efficiency;
  • Cost reduction for trading operations by supporting the value chain constitution and operation between the actors;
  • Ability to identify and exploit important existing business networks and synergies;
  • Greater trust and partnerships with other SMEs by utilizing the existing contacts of business support institutions, such as chambers of commerce or associations;
  • Expand existing markets by using e-commerce as an enabler to establish Virtual Organizations;
  • Obtain effective supportive services (e-business advices, consultancy, training, etc.);
  • Develop the SMEs' personnel, individual skills and know-how.
  • Visit the project website at

    design: Home | Site Map | Search | Contact Us | Privacy Policy

    © 2004 ARC Fund. All Rights Reserved.