The internet ecosystem is evolving in a manner that transforms the world and presents ever-increasing economic opportunities for entrepreneurs and Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
In an effort to close the digital gap, combat digital exclusion and capacitate local SMEs to benefit from the digital economy, the .ZA Domain Name Authority (ZADNA) is implementing a countrywide .ZA (dotZA) Domain Name Registrar-Reseller Development program for local startups and SMEs.
Domain name Registrars and Resellers are Internet Service Providers (ISPs) that are authorised to provide domain name registration services to consumers. Since the inception of the program in 2016, ZADNA has conducted over 16 training sessions on “How to become a .za Registrar / Reseller” to local ICT startups. More than 300 participants have benefitted from the program.
The objective of the program is to unlock the economic potential of local SMEs in the domain name registration business, accelarate the creation of new players within the Internet Service Provider (ISP) industry, and support and nurture existing .za Registrar and Resellers.
“Our training is meant to help local startups participate in the domain name registration and webhosting industry. The training helps participants understand the available business opportunities in our sector”, says Vika Mpisane, CEO of .ZADNA. “Participating entities are equipped with knowledge about how they can become accredited as .ZA Registrars and provide various webhosting services as well.”
In the recent past, training events were held in Limpopo, Soweto, Port Shepstone, Pietermaritzburg, Mamelodi and Braamfontein. The most recent event took place in Durban a week ago.
“Going forward, our focus is to increase the number of black-owned, youth-owned and women-owned Registrars and Resellers in all provinces to avoid over-concentration of ISPs in Gauteng, KZN and the Western Cape. In 2018 we will extend the programme to the Northern Cape, Free State, North West, Mpumalanga and Limpopo province. These are the areas where little growth and transformation is seen as far as new ICT business entrants are concerned”, adds Mpisane.
The Registrar-Reseller training initiative has led to ZADNA collaborating with different ICT entities in delivering the training. Currently, ZADNA is collaborating with the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services (DTPS) and the Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA). The collaboration allows ZADNA to provide its Registrar-Reseller training through the SEDA incubators with the assistance of the DTPS.
“This collaboration helps us avoid duplications in ICT SME development initiatives. It is very important for us to work with DTPS, as it drives the implementation of the National ICT SME Development Strategy” says Mpisane. “In the same vein, SEDA is best positioned to provide comprehensive business development support not only ICT entities, but to all SMEs in general. That’s why ZADNA has seen it critical to collaborate with SEDA”.