Leonard Ncube in Victoria Falls
TWO brothers have come up with a free web hosting facility aimed at creating a platform through which Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) market themselves online.
While a majority of businesses have no websites or have been suspended for failing to pay monthly fees that range up to $300 per month, co-founders of Free Web Hosting (FWH) Zimbabwe Messrs Bukhosi and Mbekezeli Mhlanga said the online marketing platform offers free services only to SMEs.
The company’s chief executive officer Mr Bukhosi Mhlanga said:
“We started here in Zimbabwe in August when we managed to get servers after working on it since 2010.
“We’re hosted by Niva City of South Africa where we pay affordable rates. They (Niva City) paid for eight severs for us and we’re using four of them. So we thought of using the others to offer free services to local SMEs.”
At the moment, the online platform hosts 509 businesses.
Mr Mhlanga said big corporations were not hosted on the free servers because they have large traffic and thus they were accommodated on paid for servers or referred to the South Africa hosting platform.
“People don’t understand web hosting and as a result some are fleeced of up to $300 per month just for hosting a website.
“Some websites are even suspended because they would have failed to pay hosting fees. We thought of giving this service free of charge so that even small businesses can be able to have websites,” he said.
“We believe that every Zimbabwean is an entrepreneur and can have a website where people can go to pay online.
“We have tobacco and fruit farmers and other traders who have potential to attract foreign buyers if out on the website. They can also market themselves and the country through websites,” he said.
Mr Mhlanga said the idea of online marketing was to eliminate middlemen who charge high fees which make Zimbabwean products expensive. Online marketing will directly link local suppliers with foreign buyers thereby enhancing exports. The two brothers learnt Information Technologies through on the job training. — @ncubeleon