Google to create free Kenyan websites

Google, in partnership with Safaricom and Equity Bank, plans to bring small and medium scale enterprise (SMEs) businesses in Kenya online for free.

Google is to create free websites for Kenyan SMEs (image: Pinnapedia, 2010)

The project, dubbed “Getting Kenyan Businesses Online (GKBO)”, provides a template for SMEs to log onto and fill in information to upload onto their new website.

The Google-led effort will also give SMEs the opportunity to create their own website at no cost. With 10.2 million Internet users in Kenya, Google Kenya Country Manager Olga Arara-Kimani said the initiative would transform the SME landscape, while positively impacting on the economy.

Speaking at a Nairobi hotel, Arara-Kimani said many small businesses fear getting online because they think it is complicated and expensive.

“We are providing your own, easy to build website for mobile and desktop. The SME will be listed online under our website, If we are able to get these businesses online, where we are now seeing that they are not only being found locally, but have the opportunity to be found internationally; they can contribute to the growth of the business,” she said.

The GKBO website is mobile and desktop compatible allowing SMEs to personally manage the site and update business information in real time. Resources available include a shopping cart service and SMS alerts providing the number of hits to the website.

According to a recent Google study, one in three mobile Internet searches in the East African region pertains to local information. Ministry of Information and Communication Permanent Secretary Dr Bitange Ndemo said GKBO also helps to address high registration prices for website domains that often discourage SMEs from signing up.

“The storage capacity in this country is four times as expensive as it is outside the country. If it continues to be that expensive it will discourage people from getting local domains. What Google brings in is the leveraging of their capacity for storage to bring lower costs,” he said.

He said the government was taking steps to boost cyber security through the Computer Incident Response Team (CIRT) at the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK).

CIRT will receive, review and respond to computer security incident reports and activity, as well as create awareness of cyber security issues through the provision of cyber security advisories.

Partners involved in the GKBO initiative include Safaricom, Equity Bank, the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Information and Communication, World Bank and Kenya Network Information Centre.

Brian Adero


  1. Thats a very welcome idea. We are losing so many opportunities due to lack of web presence. However the people need to be sensitized on internet opportunities. I teach people how to market on the internet and frankly apart from the tourism industry, most of the other sectors are aware of the vast potential of the internet and not many are interested..
    The other problem that needs to be overcome is of computer illiteracy especially among educated people and business owners. For example a lot of secondary school teachers are computer illiterate. and yet they would benefit so much from online opportunities, tutorials, markings etc.

  2. What a trial, what an attempt! this will definitely boost the Kenyan SME sector and improve its contribution to the economy from the curent 18% of DGP.

  3. That is a great idea. The future of marketing is through affliate advertising and marketing and this is a benchmark for this success.

  4. There is a new player in town. offers a much simpler website builder with inventory management, free web and mobile versions and marketing direct to other sites. A very unique product and should outshine

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