Google helping SA businesses online

2012-01-19 14:51

Cape Town - Google is launching a programme to bring small businesses in South Africa online, the internet giant announced on Thursday.
The programme, dubbed Woza Online, will allow businesses to create their own website and develop an online presence.
"Woza Online, in partnership with the department of trade and 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," Google said.
According to a survey in January 2012 by World Wide Worx, 79% of small and medium enterprises with a website reported profitability, whereas only 59% of SMEs without a website reported similar results.
"We have also seen that, under tough conditions, many SMEs have only survived thanks to their online presence," said Arthur Goldstuck, CEO of World Wide Worx.
The DTI said this programme would benefit small businesses and facilitate more entrepreneurs.
"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 toward getting online," said Elizabeth Thabethe, deputy minister for the department of trade and industry.
The programme should give a boost to SMEs hoping to extend their footprint, and with Google's applications, should cement the internet giant's search dominance.
The programme has been launched around the world and in Africa, the programme was launched in Kenya and Nigeria in 2011, with these countries seeing over 20 000 businesses going online within the first two months, Google said.

  • Jerry - 2012-01-19 15:54

    I have been running websites in South Africa now for ten years. Just quickly checked what they offer well in 1 min saw 2 catches and then they want to help the small guy to have a website. The rip offs are scary just one point I would like to make nothing is free read the small print.

  • Zayne Repsold - 2012-01-19 16:00

    It will create jobs , but web developers will lose work.

      Xenswim1 - 2012-01-19 17:01

      You are seriously IT illitrate. 90% of the the sites built using these free systems are devoid of content and will never be found on the www unless you type in the URL. Another point is that under the system people that count will not do business with free sites. These sites still need SEO optimisation to be found. At best people like myself use them to get around the Google enforced geo location but link back to main site. If you take on a CoZa domain you are stuck in SA and will not be found in the US or other countries.

      TamaraSays - 2012-01-19 17:58

      You can get a TLD for less than $10, and you can get free hosting with With Joomla also free, and free templates etc, it can literally cost R80 to have a fully functional website, with a .com domain. Why do most South Africans not know this? The internet is an amazing resource, and it opens doors. Kids should be taught this stuff at school. It should be mandatory education. The internet can SOLVE the unemployment problem in this country. If there was government will. Which there isn't.

  • bafana.skosana - 2012-01-19 16:40

    I support the initiative, sound promising, online is the way to go, lots of benefits, business owners should start using internet and computers for their business to run smooth and effectively.

  • Xenswim1 - 2012-01-19 16:53

    Google has had this for a number of years. First they had Froogle. That has been converted to a Merchant data base. All they did was give it some black sounding name to make it attractive to the locals and look as if they supporting small business.

  • stephenballot - 2012-01-19 18:38

    Just a note: Google did this in Kenya and ended up using underhand tactics. Hope they avoid this in South Africa.

  • Boer - 2012-01-19 22:22

    Whoever gave Tamara 2 thumbs down are pretty stupid. Everything she said is spot on.

  • John - 2012-01-20 08:28

    I checked it out and well... Whenever some company links me to a site on wozza's sub domains... I'll back peddle slowly

      juanne.coetzee - 2012-01-20 08:53

      Same. If you had to choose between, let's say a well known insurance company after visiting their site and an insurance company with a 'Woza' site.... which one would you trust more?

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