Google latest initiative, Woza Online, that aims to bring tens of thousands of small and medium South African businesses online. Businesses will have the opportunity to create their own websites at www.wozaonline.co.za and develop an online presence – for free, and in under an hour.
Transforming the SME landscape
Woza Online, in partnership with the Department of Trade & Industry (DTI), Vodacom and the Human Resources Development Council (HRDC), hopes to transform the South African SME landscape, and drive economic growth and job creation. This project is also supported by Lead SA, the Primedia Broadcasting and Independent Group of Newspapers initiative that aims to mobilise change among South Africans for the benefit of the country.
According to the interim results of the latest SME survey conducted by World Wide Worx (January 2012), there is a strong link between being online and being competitive, profitable and sustainable. 79% of SMEs with a website reported profitability, whereas only 59% of SMEs without a website reported the same.
Businesses participating in the initiative get:
- A free easy-to-build professional website
- A free sub-domain name and hosting
- An automatic listing on Google Places which reflects in Google Maps
- Access to training material and workshops
- Free online support available via Google Chat and email
- 1 year free top-level .co.za domain name for first 10 000 applicants
Combating SME online challanges
Commenting on the initiative, Elizabeth Thabethe, Deputy Minister for the Department of Trade and Industry, said, “The more small businesses are online the more customers they will be able to reach. We often hear entrepreneurs or business owners describing the challenges of building an online presence. With Woza Online removing those obstacles, SMEs are empowered to take that first bold step towards getting online.”
Also present at the launch event was Arthur Goldstuck, World Wide Worx, who said, “Woza Online presents a fantastic opportunity for SMEs across the country to join the digital revolution, at no expense. Research has shown that a company website, as well as the use of cloud computing, are closely correlated with being highly competitive and strongly profitable. We have also seen that, under tough conditions, many SMEs have only survived thanks to their online presence.”
“We believe that the power of the Internet will help small businesses in South Africa to grow, and will help entrepreneurs thrive, by bringing more local information online and making it accessible,” says Luke Mckend, Country Manager for Google South Africa. “The Woza Online process is simple and business owners can be online in less than an hour – whether you sell transport services, cakes, crafts or electronics, locally or internationally.”
For more information visit: www.wozaonline.co.za