Sun | Aug 1, 2021

1,000 free websites for businesses

Published:Wednesday | April 21, 2021 | 12:19 AMJonielle Daley/Staff Reporter

At least 1,000 small and medium-size enterprises and small entrepreneurs islandwide will be gifted a free e-commerce website with free hosting on Sunday, May 16, courtesy of WiPay Jamaica.

This will be facilitated via an online session for which businesses will need an email address to sign up using the registration portal on WiPay Jamaica’s website, http://wipayjamaica.com, on Facebook, on Twitter @wipayjamaica, and Instagram, @wipayjamaica.

At the end of the session, all websites will be fully operational.

The multimillion-dollar Project 1,000 initiative will be documented in the Guinness Book of World Records, organisers said.

WiPay Jamaica, a subsidiary of WiPay Holdings Group, a leading Caribbean fintech and payment solutions company, said it saw the need to foster digitalisation through the launch of the Government’s E-commerce National Delivery Solution (ENDS) platform. The company was among the private-sector partners involved in the platform’s development.

Founder and chief executive officer of WiPay, Aldwyn Wayne, said though it will be a tough pivot, ENDS has made it evident that Jamaica is “ready and willing to go online”.

The ENDS pilot programme has expanded to include restaurants, pharmacies, and supermarkets in Kingston, Portmore, and Montego Bay.

However, Wayne pointed out that “there needs to be a bit more education and availability in products”, explaining that some entrepreneurs may be hesitant because they are unaware of how to set up and manoeuvre virtual shops and of the added boost to business in making products more available.

The virtual session that will facilitate the launch of WiSHOPS for SMEs and entrepreneurs islandwide will not only set up the e-commerce websites but will demonstrate to the recipients how to manage the back end of their e-shops.

“We are teaching you to fish,” he said, noting that the pandemic has propelled the pre-existing trend of e-business, much to the demise of the technologically disadvantaged.

“What the prime minister said, ‘Balancing lives and livelihoods was the true inspiration behind this attempt’,” said Kibwe McGann, country manager, who has been on the ground assisting pan chicken man, restaurant proprietors and other businesses to set up online shops to be able to participate in business during curfew hours.

McGann noted that the free initiative would enable businesses to surpass their geographical boundaries in marketing and profit.

E-shop monies earned will be available in local banks, not using third-party platforms such as Paypal or Shopify, as many Jamaicans do.

“The thought of repatriating your funds or money is no longer a headache,” McGann said.

After registering for the session, business owners are required to:

– Take a 1700x200 picture in front of their business to be used on the website.

– Decide on and submit a business name.

– Photograph at least five of their products that will be on sale.