EPMA’s history is connected with the internet’s arrival in the early 90s of the 20th century and with the interest of the non-profit BMI association to promote and study this newly emerged phenomenon. In 1998 experts from the BMI association started the annual educational and promotional project “Březen – měsíc Internetu” (March – the month of the internet). The same group of experts are also behind the concept of the ISSS conference (a high level ICT event in the Czech Republic). The BMI association started to focus on international cooperation and was invited to join the PRELUDE project (Promoting European Local and Regional Sustainability in the Digital Economy) financed by the 5th Framework programme in 2000. The project partnership consisted of nine regional public administrations from across Europe that wanted to study a creation of regional clusters. The BMI association needed a pilot region from the Czech Republic. The newly created Vysocina Region, driven by the upcoming accession of the Czech Republic to the EU, was very interested in cooperation and became a subcontractor of BMI in the PRELUDE project in 2002-2003.
BMI Association is a non-profit and non-government organisation, which deals with the promotion of the Internet as a modern marketing and communication tool, including promotional, educative and dissemination activities all over the Czech Republic. BMI is headquartered in Prague. The BMI Association co-operates with a range of national and regional authorities, media and groups of population, organises local workshops in all around the Czech Republic as well as takes part in nation-wide events, conferences or round tables. The expertise of BMI lies in project development and management on the basis of public & private partnership. BMI works with experienced Senior Managers outsourcing a large scale of external professionals and agencies for special tasks.
The Vysocina Region is a territory-based community of citizens entitled to self-government. Within its independent powers, it takes care of the comprehensive development of its territory and the needs of its population. It co-operates with towns and villages (while not interfering with their independent powers). The regions of the Czech Republic were established in 2000, and are gradually assuming the functions previously administered by the state. Vysocina region is one of 14 regions of the Czech Republic.