An initiative to strengthen the online presence of 25,000 small Nigerian businesses may just be another breakthrough that will fast-track government efforts of ensuring the growth and development of small business in the private sector of the economy.
The initiative, known as ‘Succeed Online’, which has since commenced with Lagos State, involves the training of 500 business owners on how to better use the internet to reach more customers, and thereby achieve the goals of their businesses.
Speaking with the Nigerian Compass over the weekend on the initiative, which would last until September 2012, Marketing Manager, SME Products, Google Nigeria, Bunmi Banjo disclosed that a major challenge facing online small businesses in Nigeria is lack of focus stressing that they run so many things at the same time and such it is difficult to understand their business.
According to her, using one website for several lines of business does not help for the growth of the several lines of business, noting that at the one visit to a website, the visitor should be able to known what the website is all about.
Banjo stated that the goal of the ‘Succeed Online’ training series is to educate small and medium business owners on crucial tips that would help them boost the impact of their online presence.
She explained that while having a website gives businesses an opportunity to showcase their goods and services, they can further benefit from a comprehensive online presence which include good use of social media, listings, blogs etc. These tools are available to them at no cost.
She recalled that the “Succeed Online” initiative, which is a part of the Get Nigerian Businesses Online program (GNBO) launched in September 2011 has so far enabled over 25,000 SMEs in Nigeria to build their own websites for free noting that the training for 500 business owners is an educational series by Google to help them understand how to manage a wide range of internet tools that can take their businesses to the next level.
According to her, the GNBO program is a joint initiative by Google and partners such as Ecobank to help SMEs create their first websites and help them make the most of the opportunities offered by the Internet.
Training session, she said will cover areas such as how to use platforms such as Google Trader to list various products and services for immediate sale; how to use social media and YouTube videos to interact with customers and get valuable feedback for improving their businesses and how to use Google’s ‘Insight for Search’ to improve the content of their websites.
While expressing the dismay over the low level of Nigerian content on the internet, she said part of its Google’s role in the country is to build the online ecosystem of the nation.
She added that Google wants to make the internet to be part of the everyday life of Nigerians stating that participants of the Succeed Online program are current GNBO website owners who have expressed interest in enhancing their online presence.
Banjo noted that while these sessions are currently offered to GNBO website owners only, there are many tips and tricks on improving websites and building an effective presence on the internet can be found by doing a simple online search.
One of such companies, which the GNBO has helped boost its online is Interiors by Anora, a company devoted to creating beautiful interiors that reflect the client’s personal taste and style.
Nora Azubuike who founded the company in 2004 said, “Getting online for Interiors by Anora has meant that we are now one of the players in the global marketplace. We now have the internet presence to reach customers both inside and outside Nigeria”
Acican Investments Limited, a wholly owned indigenous private limited liability company that provides a wide range of high quality products and services on Information Technology, Communication, Procurements, Management Consultancy & Allied Services, Internet & Information Marketing, Printing and Publishing has equally benefitted from the GNBO project.
Its chairman of, Chief Aci Blankson, said, “Getting online has really taken my business to a different level. I now have a virtual office, so whether I’m at my physical location or not, I am always present for my clients when I am online”1