Small companies are to get free space on the Internet in a Government initiative to help British firms break into new markets.
More than 250,000 companies will be offered free space in a directory and the opportunity to conduct sales transactions via e-mail on the UKTrade Web site.
The DTI has put up £450,000, which is half the estimated cost. The rest will come from academic institutions and the site manager ICL, which will recoup costs by charging for advanced services such as complete Web sites.
Product and company searches will be the main service. E-mail links would help businesses process orders and provide quotes.
According to Ian Taylor, minister for science and technology, the programme would give British firms a higher global profile.
The Web site goes on the Internet in March. It is part of the DTI Information Society Initiative.