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Unprecedented times call for unprecedented measures. The COVID-19 pandemic or Coronavirus has disrupted South African small businesses and left some bankrupt.

In May, South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa unveiled R200 billion loan scheme for small-medium enterprises (SME’s) which have been affected by the pandemic. This will help such businesses and re-ignite economic activity.

To survive, the chaos created by COVID-19 pandemic SMEs they need to digitise their operations.

The good thing is that Coronavirus is fast-tracking digitisation.

That said, SMEs have traditionally lagged when it comes to taking the digital leap.

According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) form the backbone of many developed economies, accounting for 99% of all businesses in its member countries. These businesses, in turn, contribute to about 70% of all jobs and are in excess of 50% of value creation.

Although most sectors of South Africa’s economy are characterized by a high concentration of large corporations, accounting for the bulk of economic output and exports, small businesses and entrepreneurs play an important role. According to the Banking Association of South Africa, SMEs make up 91% of formalized businesses, provide employment to about 60% of the labour force, and account for roughly 34% of GDP in South Africa.

Therefore, South Africa’s SMEs need to be supported to digitise.

The first step for SMEs to digitise is to be connected to the world wide web.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the importance of brands having an authentic and effective digital presence.

To create an effective digital presence, an SME will require a web service that enhances customer interaction, mobile-hosted applications, and ease of use.

Web hosting in South Africa is slowly becoming more affordable for individuals and SMEs.

The high adoption of internet-driven services such as social media, e-commerce, and other activities has offered huge potential for the growth of web hosting in South Africa.

The adoption of these services is pushed by Coronavirus.

In turn, this is forcing SMEs to go online.

The same SMEs that were resistant to the digitisation and are now considering online mediums to survive the lockdown.

SMEs, which have no digital presence, are now approaching hosting companies to start a website or extend their business to e-commerce during the lockdown.

The COVID-19 pandemic has enabled SMEs to realise that they need to be agile in their approach and provide a value-based product/service that helps customers.

This realisation by SMEs in South Africa that digitisation is important will lead to a subsequent rise in the demand for web hosting services. SMEs that embrace digitisation will find shoppers who are also starting to see the value of e-commerce in South Africa.

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