Over 30,000 SME’s have registered on Woza Online programme

South Africa’s mobile telco Vodacom has announced it has registered over 30,000 businesses on Woza Online, which enables local businesses to have a web presence.

10,000 more have applied for independent domains.

The Woza Online initiative is a partnership between Vodacom, the South African Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the Human Resources Development Council (HRDC) and Google.

“The initiative was launched to enable SMEs to create their first website and help them make the most of the opportunities offered by the Internet,” Vodacom said.

The initiative has been replicated in Kenya and Nigeria.

In a recent event in Soweto, the Vodacom group showcased some of the projects that have come out of the Woza Online initiative.

The Pimville Guesthouse and Tours site was created in April this year and is now responsible for up to 60 percent of the guesthouse’s customers. It has managed to attract customers from the US, Australia and parts of Europe.

Mabunda Royals is a home brewing and catering business that has seen its revenue increase due to their web presence.

“About 70 percent of my customers come via my website. Woza Online must keep up the good work and empower as many SMEs across South Africa as possible,” founder Alex Mabunda said.

The ability to be in control of the design and information on the Woza Online initiative has helped Chaf Pozi, a tourist restaurant, to maximise on their Web presence without incurring costs. The company gets 50 to 60 enquiries a day from the UK alone.

Despite these positive stories on business online, a report by Internet Economic Impact Study reveals that Internet economy contributes 2 percent to South Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP), shattering the belief that South Africa is the biggest internet economy in Africa. This contribution is rising by around 0.1 percent a year, meaning it should reach 2.5 percent by 2016.

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