Woza Online signs up 30 000 SMEs
At the launch of the Woza Online project in January, World Wide Worx unveiled research that showed the dramatic impact a web site can have on an SME's competitiveness. More details are provided in the Internet Matters report, produced by World Wide Worx for Google. The full report can be downloaded by following the link at the bottom of the article.
Following the launch of Woza Online, a partnership between the Department of Trade & Industry (DTI), Google, Vodacom and the Human Resources Development Council (HRDC), in January 2012, the uptake by SMEs has been extremely encouraging. To date, over 30 000 small businesses have registered for websites, with more than 10 000 requesting their own co.za domains from Vodacom.
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.
At a recent event held in Soweto, the audience got to see not only how quick and easy it is to set up a typical website, but to hear SME owners and users recount the benefits that are already being realised as a result of the Woza Online initiative.
Pimville Guesthouse and Tours
Situated in the modern suburb of Pimville ext 5, Pimville Guesthouse caters for the needs of many tourists that come to experience the upbeat vibe and culture of Soweto. The business was started by Phineas Kutumela as a project that sprouted from his passion and drive for hosting and touring. As an experienced tour guide, he offers much more than just a place to sleep and eat – the touring services are also a large attraction to guests. The free Pimville Guesthouse Woza Online site has made it possible for clients to browse and make enquiries about what they have seen and also exposes the business to a wider market. The site was created in April 2012 and is now responsible for 60% of the guesthouse’s incoming customers. Guests come from as far afield as the USA, Australia and various European countries, and Kutumela now reports that his revenue is much more consistent than previously experienced.
Mabunda Royals is a small home brewing and catering company operating in Soweto. The company was founded by Alex Mabunda, who sought to introduce a high-end, quality and professionally brewed umqombothi (African beer) to the market, inspired whilst still at school by his grandmother’s recipes! The Mabunda Royals Woza Online website was created at the end of April 2012 in order to maximise the business’ exposure and expand its customer base. The Woza Online site has helped Mabunda Royals to achieve these goals and adds a more professional feel to the business. Says Alex, “About 70% 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.”
Bay of Grace Tours
This tour operations company specialises in offering foreign and local birding enthusiasts the opportunity to experience the wonder of the birding and conservation world in Soweto. Bay of Grace Tours encourages birding and township conservation as a hobby, as well as an alternative career choice through environmental education in schools and parks. The company was started in 2010 in preparation for the Fifa World Cup, and has blossomed from there. Bay of Grace Tours is the only avi-tour operator in Soweto. Bay of Grace Tours uses its Woza Online site (which was created at the beginning of 2012) to promote its business and to reach a global target market. They have now received queries and bookings from as far away as Turkey and several Asian countries. Potential clients are able to make queries online and get a response quickly. Bay of Grace Tours intends on further utilising the website to increase the company’s bottom line.
Founded in 1978 by the late Tom Ndhlovu, the Spanish Inn (previously named Church House) was a place for black people to socialise together. In 1986 the name Spanish Inn was formed and licensed legally to operate among other top Clubs and Pubs in Soweto. Its current name is attributed to the houses Spanish design.
Thanks to their Woza Online website they already have 400 bookings for the SA-Australia rugby game in October when people will come for a meal before the match and return to party afterwards!
They take bulk bookings for lunches, and partner with the Cape Wine Academy, who found them online, to host wine connoisseur classes in Soweto.
A traditional Shisa Nyama, perfectly nestled at the foot of the iconic Orlando Towers, Chaf Pozi offers a shebeen vibe second to none. Situated in Soweto, near Baragwaneth Hospital, Chaf Pozi has become a “must” for both tourists and locals alike. For the dare devils, a 100m high bungee jumping experience is available off the top of the Orlando Towers.
Chaf Pozi gets 50-60 enquiries a day from the UK alone thanks to their Woza Online website. The owners say the biggest thing about the Woza website is being able to change everything easily themselves, at no cost. They are already full booked for Lady Gaga in November.
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