Kenya: Google wants your business online

Google wants to see every small and medium size business in Kenya have its own website.

The Getting Kenya Businesses Online (GKBO) initiative was today launched at the GKenya conference in Nairobi.

“We believe that the power of the internet will help small businesses in Kenya to thrive, by bringing more local information online, and making that information more accessible and useful to the public. Whether you sell shoes, electronics, cars, transport services or even mama mbogas, the GKBO tools will help you reach new customers,” said Olga Arara-Kimani, Google Kenya country manager.

The GKBO initiative has set a target of helping thousands of Kenyan SMEs set up a website easily and for free by the end of 2011.

Dr Bitange Ndemo, permanent secretary in Kenya’s Ministry of Information and Communication, said he expects the GKBO initiative to have a significant economic impact. “The number of internet users in Kenya is in excess of 10.2 million . . . Yet, many businesses are not yet online because they see it as costly or complicated. At a time when being online is an essential part of economic growth, having a website is as important as having a telephone.”

Grace Murugi Wanjama, a conference attendee and owner of a small cake company said, “Our business has really grown thanks to the internet – I am able to reach many more people through my website. But beyond that, having a well managed online presence has helped my business engage with customers 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Even when I am unavailable or asleep my website keeps on working for me.”