Global Business Networks
The GeoBridge is a non-profit research project that categorizes global sources of news, information, and applied knowledge about Online Business Networking and International Trade, with an emphasis on emerging technology standards and enabling software tools. Visitors are encouraged to recommend new topic categories and associated content.
Austin, Texas, USA -- Establishing and maintaining international Business-to-Business (B2B) networking and collaboration activity is nearly always a lengthy process that often requires extensive business travel expenses, and therefore economically out of reach for many Small to Medium size Enterprises (SME).
Coincidentally, the advent of numerous Sister City relationships has theoretically created the potential of enabling SME's to initiate international business related dialogues via virtual connections with industry peers across the internet, and thereby defer travel costs until such time that potential trading partners essentially become pre-qualified.
And yet, most Sister City relationships have not evolved or matured beyond basic public-sector related information exchanges (i.e. cultural and/or educational related interaction and dialogue). Moreover, the few commercial encounters that have reportedly occured, as a result of Sister City trade missions, are nearly always between representatives of very large multinational corporations.
Note, Sister Cities International (SCI) is the official agency which links communities from the United States with communities worldwide who share the primary goal of developing long-term community partnerships through the strengthening of cultural, educational, municipal, business, professional and technical relationships.
With no formal process to enable like-minded business contact introductions, even those small business leaders that are aware of their local government's sister city relationships often rate these programs as irrellevant for their practical needs to explore and establish international partner connections. Regardless, the raw potential of utilizing the internet for the specific purpose of spawning new forms of global trade has never been more promising. The challenge, however, is turning that promise into reality.
Business Peer Open Collaboration
With this thought in mind, the Economic TeleDevelopment Forum has launched the concept of the commerce-centric open peer-to-peer (P2P) global business connections network -- the GeoBridge Project. With no recognized term to define the underlying principles of this concept, we offer BusinessPeer-to-BusinessPeer (BP2BP) as a tentative descriptor. Note, the GeoBridge Project is primarily an information technology (IT) research venture at this point in time, and no organization has underwritten the proposed international pilot commercial social networking program.
The typical application scenario in essence is very simple. As a SME leader, I want to identify an appropriate local distribution, research and development, manufacturing, or service provider partner in a foreign country; I know the exact criteria that defines my perfect business partner; I know the foreign market(s) where I would consider establishing a business partnership; I have the appropriate means to make a determination for selecting a partner; and yet I have no practical way to quickly target and engage potential business partners in an exploratory dialogue.
In summary, SME leaders need a viable and low-cost solution for secure global business opportunity discovery or development that's easy to implement, and maintain. Furthermore, we believe that any vendor or service provider who is capable of totally fulfilling this need would be serving a relatively untapped market.