Colombian – OAS to help MSMEs access E-commerce

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WASHINGTON, USA – The ministry of information and communications technologies of Colombia and the Organization of American States (OAS), with the support of Kolau, presented a Plan to help 30,000 Colombian micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) to start selling their products online at no cost to them.

The Digitization Plan has been implemented by the OAS, with Kolau’s technical support, in different countries of Latin America. So far, nearly 50,000 entrepreneurs from El Salvador, Chile, Paraguay, Jamaica, Honduras, Costa Rica, Guatemala and Mexico have already benefited. Launches in Brazil, Argentina and Belize are expected the near future.

According to recent Google reports, in Colombia 75 percent of consumers go to the Internet to begin or conclude a purchase process. Given this reality, the MSME Digitization Plan was designed to facilitate the creation of web pages by the person responsible for the company in just 15 minutes on average. To do so, those interested should only enter the link kolau.es/Colombia and upload the information and images of their business; the platform generates the website for them.

The initiative, which seeks to support entrepreneurs in the strategic use of technologies, and contributes to closing the digital divide, is especially relevant in the current context, in which the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted online consumer habits, forcing entrepreneurs and businesses to find innovative ways to offer their goods and services.

The initiative is aimed at all MSMEs in the country, especially small neighborhood businesses, such as shops, bakeries, and pharmacies, among others, which need a way to communicate with their customers, so that they learn about products and services and can access them.

The vice minister of digital economy of Colombia, Germán Rueda, stressed that “the positive impact of this Plan becomes very important today when consumers and business people are challenged to comply with the isolation measures that are being implemented in the face of the health emergency caused by COVID-19. MSMEs need mechanisms to deliver the information of their products and services, and thus facilitate their sales through non-contact channels.”

The director of the OAS department of economic development, Maryse Robert, explained that “the MSME Digitization Plan is a tool that gives entrepreneurs the opportunity to prosper and expand their businesses. The initiative will greatly contribute to improve the living standards of many people in the Americas, it will provide more rights for more people. ”

In addition to the page, the beneficiaries will receive the georeferencing service through Google Maps. “Customers searching for a certain product will be able to find in the application, the location of the store closest to their residence and communicate with them to place an order and pay for it upon receipt,” explained Kolau chief executive officer and founder Danny Sánchez-Mola.

The goal in Colombia this year is to reach 30,000 beneficiaries. However, the capacity to create and deliver web pages is unlimited, so any MSME, which today represent 96 percent of companies in Colombia, will be able to access this service.

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