17 January 2020 | 2 minutes

A business that isn’t online is a business that misses a world of opportunities.

Today, potential customers and collaborators are just as likely to ask for your Instagram handle as they are to ask for your business card. Even if the products or services offered have nothing to do with the digital world, an online presence is expected. As access to the internet grows across the continent, more African entrepreneurs are able to bring their businesses online. The benefits of a connected continent are far reaching, making a positive impact on more than 4 million SMEs and the people who rely on these small businesses to make a living.

We’ve even started to provide micro-loans to help grow small businesses on the continent

Connectivity Enables Digital Marketing

If nobody knows about your business, nobody can support it. Our current world is one where word gets around digitally, and at an alarmingly fast pace. Digital marketing is essential in building a brand and growing a customer base. A mix of paid advertising and social media content can be used in powerful ways, and African businesses are finding new ways to grab customer attention every day. Content is king when it comes to marketing a brand online, and budgets to create content needn’t be large when the idea is unique or attention grabbing. Digital Odyssey recently rounded up a few viral marketing campaigns which came straight out of Africa, and we expect to see much more in the next few years as connectivity on the continent increases.

Connectivity Enables Financial Inclusion

We’ve spoken at length of the benefits of Mobile Money for African businesses in previous Spotlights, and none of those benefits would be accessible if it wasn’t for connectivity. SMEs that accept Mobile Money payments for their products and services are gaining more customers – those who don’t have access to traditional financial services. For entrepreneurs who want to reach customers beyond physical borders, connectivity creates the opportunity to build online stores and brings an e-commerce element to African businesses.

Connectivity Enables Funding

Finding investors is easier today than it has ever been. Sending pitch documents, setting up crowdfunding pages and hosting meetings online are all possible because of connectivity. African businesses or entrepreneurs with lucrative ideas aren’t limited to the people in their physical surroundings as a source of funding when their online presence is comprehensive.

Connectivity Enables a Successful Future

School-aged learners are encouraged to become entrepreneurs when they leave school, and being digitally savvy will give these learners a necessary edge to compete with global players. Access to technology is essential for African youth who want to be entrepreneurs, so we’ve donated more than 925 multi-media centres and digital classrooms to schools across 12 of our markets. By doing so, we are equipping our youth for a successful future and the opportunity to become competitive on a global scale.

 

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