Google Partners With Safaricom to Create Free Websites for SMEs

Google has partnered with Safaricom and Equity Bank to create free websites and online profiles for small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) in a bid to increase exposure for their businesses across the globe.

The Google-led project dubbed “Getting Kenyan Businesses Online (GKBO)” seeks to get more businesses online in a region where many business owners still think that going online is difficult and complicated.

To get started, business owners will be required to log onto and fill in their details to create a free website. Google will provide the necessary assistance to get businesses online for free.

Read me: Kenya’s Small Businesses Badly Affected by Covid-19 – Facebook

Speaking at a Nairobi Hotel, Google Kenya Country Manager Olga Arara-Kimani said the initiative would transform the SME landscape in the country and contribute to Kenya’s economy.

“We are providing your own, easy to build a website for mobile and desktop. The SME will be listed online under our website, If we are able to get these businesses online, where we are now seeing that they are not only being found locally but have the opportunity to be found internationally; they can contribute to the growth of the business,” she said.

The website is compatible with both desktop and mobile and gives full control to the user allowing them to update the information to their websites in real-time. Options available include creating e-commerce websites with shopping cart functionalities. Users will also get SMS alerts regarding the traffic to their websites.

A recent Google report showed that more people who go online search for local information, hence the importance of getting more local content online.

Read also: Facebook Starts Rolling Out Shops Tab For Small Businesses

Ministry of Information and Communication Permanent Secretary Dr Bitange Ndemo said GKBO will assist SMEs who are discouraged from getting online due to the high fees required to purchase a domain and pay for hosting services.

Google Kenya and East Africa country director Agnes Gathaiya said the businesses would be more visible to users across the globe, with a market finder facility enabling interested users to find and locate them easily.

“Logistics, taxes as well as market networks are key in today’s business environment. The SMEs, who have also been suffering from disrupted supply chains due to the Covid-19 pandemic can now also search with ease for genuine suppliers of raw materials,” she said.

Other partners involved in the project include the Ministry of Finance, the World Bank, the Ministry of Finance, and Kenya Network Information Centre.

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Written by Vanessa Murrey

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