Saturday, October 31, 2020

Stretching the www to rural areas

The internet is a modern person’s 24/7 thing. Most people holding their cellphone and looking intently at them are most likely to be on Facebook or the web in general.

Itumeleng Garebatshabe, an IT specialist who owns Intelligere Holdings, has come up with an idea to have all Botswana companies to be online as it will make it easier to get info with a click on Google.

Gone are the days when people would ask around for information. It seems like a daunting task to ask around if anyone knows of a good farmer with a good breed of cattle in today’s modern/urban world of the internet. A would-be buyer of cattle is most likely going to go on Google and type, “Farmers in Botswana.” But since a lot of Botswana farmers are not online it’d be a limited search. One with not much of the desired results.

Garebatshabe says that people have to capitalize on e-Business.

“A lot of people are still stuck up on traditional business. Certain companies don’t necessarily have to have an office. A farmer does not need to have an office in Gaborone while they have a farm in Pandamatenga. The notion is that for you to have your business online you need to be this corporate person. A lot of farmers produce a lot of quantity of products and they end up short-changing themselves because we don’t know about them. We don’t know that there is someone selling strawberries in Botswana. Business people need to know of how they can broaden up businesses by having an online presence. Every month-end people want to buy cattle. People want to buy sheep.

Livestock for braais or weddings. And now everybody is using two phones in Botswana. That means you have internet access. Right now if you were to google, ‘Buying cattle in Botswana’, nothing is going to come up.”

Garebatshabe says he is currently working on that market place and a business idea along the lines of e-Business. But he warns would be clients that it is cheap to design and develop but expensive to maintain.

Asked how expensive it is, he said that it depends on the kind of website you have.

“Growth wise you can’t have the same content for more than 6 months on your site. So there is a monthly cost of maintaining websites. For example, if you are a farmer you can’t have pictures of the same cow for 6 months.”

He went on to commend e-Business as well as giving more ways on which one can capitalize on developing their business using it.

“You can sell your cattle online. People can pay there using EFT for example and have it delivered.”
Garebatshabe said that e-Business has always been there but it is just that people in Botswana have just been getting to know about it.

“But people are catching up. People are getting there. It is now time for businesses to be on the internet as well. They can start-off with the basic websites. Like websites having their contact details.”

He added that with the world being a global village that it is now, people in different countries can then google for services that they require in Botswana. He said that right now it is easy for tourists to find lodges in South Africa by simply googling, “Lodges in South Africa.” While in Botswana it is a daunting task.

“If you need to find a lodge in Maun you have to know someone who is in Maun to help you look.”
Giving an example of how the internet can benefit one’s business, Garebatshabe said that he is currently publishing artists in South Africa, Zambia and Norway. Something he says wouldn’t be possible hadn’t it not been for the internet.

“And I’m here. I don’t need to be in South Africa or Norway. Which is too far. These people can access my services. In a nutshell people have to take advantage of the internet.”

Intellegere Holdings provides IT services and solutions for specific business and IT needs.

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