If your business doesn’t have an online presence, it might as well not exist. For small businesses in particular that hasn’t always been easy. Google’s Woza online initiative, which provides free websites to small and medium-sized businesses aims to change all that.
It doesn’t seem to be doing badly either. According to the internet giant, some 25 000 businesses have signed up to the initiative since its launch in January this year.
Google South Africa chairman Luke Mckend said the take up of Woza online reflected the “energizing” spirit of entrepreneurs in the country.
He also revealed a new search function on the Woze Online homepage, which “allows users to search easily for Woza Online sites. For example, you can now find your local plumber, electrician or bakery even more easily.”
According to Chris Lazarus, Vodacom’s managing executive enterprise, commercial development: “Small businesses form a critical part of South Africa’s economy, and research has shown that SMEs with websites are far more likely to be profitable than those without. Being part of the Woza Online initiative is exciting because business owners can create an online presence with simple steps in under an hour.”
Bafedile Mokoena, owner of the 25 000th business to sign up, reckons that taking her strategic communications company, Pruben, online could give it a massive boost. “Woza Online is a great initiative as it gives start-up companies the opportunity to get exposure without having to pay exorbitant fees.”
In March, Woza Online reported that it had hit the 10 00 user mark. The tech giant is also behind Engage, a programme designed to help entrepreneurs make the most of Adwords and other Google products.
Woza Online is a joint initiative by Google, the Department of Trade and Industry (dti), Vodacom and the Human Resources Development Council.