Google signs up 25,000 SMEs for Woza Online

Google South Africa says that its Woza Online initiative has seen in excess of 25,000 small- and medium- sized enterprises (SMEs) set up websites since its inception in mid-January.

Woza Online is an initiative by Google, partnering with Vodacom, the Department of Trade & Industry, and the Human Resources Development Council.

The project aims to help South African SMEs create their own websites, in turn boosting SME turnovers, SA job creation and economic growth.

Speaking at an event in Soweto, Luke Mckend, Google SA country manager recognised the regions’ thriving SME environment. “It is energising to be amongst talented entrepreneurs and to see how getting online is helping small businesses in Soweto boost their revenues and expand their customer bases.”

“We are also pleased to unveil a new search function on the Woza 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.”

Said Chris Lazarus, managing executive enterprise, commercial development at Vodacom: “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.”

Google has launched similar initiatives in 27 other countries around the world from Great Britain, Canada, and Australia to Brazil, Indonesia, France, and Poland, bringing 400,000 businesses online over two years.

In Africa, the programme was launched in Kenya and Nigeria last year, and together with South Africa, the programme has already seen more than 80,000 SMEs publish websites.

Businesses participating in the Woza Online 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 domain name for first 10,000 applicants.

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Google signs up 25,000 SMEs for Woza Online