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E-commerce umbrella

12 July 2000 is a new and exciting community owned Internet portal providing a range of services to individual businesses and a range of Western Victorian communities. provides an umbrella for the individual web sites and pages businesses, community groups, government and is assisting in promoting an increase in e-commerce activity. Helen Thompson, the project leader believes 'it is one way for us to actively participate in the new Internet economy which is presenting exciting oppportunities for businesses to expand their customer base, increase their exposure and even transact online." Existing websites can be linked to for just $27.50 (includes GST) by completing a simple online registration process. "Users have been impressed with the features of the business directory, its search capabilities and the way clients can maintain their own business profile through a web browser," Ms Thompson said. Ararat Online ( is the first geographic community developed by

The site incorporates an Ararat view of the business directory to provide easy access to around eighty business and community groups. The site also integrates a community forum, tourism information, local view of the events calendar and a host of other information.

Ivan Surridge the Rural City of Ararat economic development manager said 'we are already seeing benefits from our new online community.' "The powerful search capabilities of the business directory are making Ararat businesses more accessible online and Ararat Online is generating substantial interest both locally and from outside our region." "Ararat Online is almost fully maintained locally so authorised content contributors and individual businesses can add, change and update information, easily, as required." "For consumers Ararat Online provides a new way to access information, communicate and promote local businesses and services," Mr. Surridge said. During the week of the July 24-28 2000 will be officially launched."

A range of activities and events are planned. will be launched as will Communities for the Real Estate, winery and information Technology sectors. Come along to the information expo to find out more about, seek assistance to link your existing site, find out how you can promote events online or search the business directory to find local businesses and services.

Alternatively you can visit us online at or contact Helen Thompson, Project Leader on 53279315. is an initiative of the Chamber of Electronic Commerce with the project managed by the University of Ballarat Centre for Electronic Commerce and Communications.

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