This presentation will be on the Internet and the informal business sector.
We’ll first of all be looking at the informal business sector Its significance and problems that it faces in operating. We’ll then see how the internet can be used to over come these constarints and how members of the informal business sector can get access to the internet.
There are several perspectives from which the informal business sector is defined. It is generally believed to consist of all small scale businesses that do not pay tax. but from a more regulatory point of view it consists of businesses thatdo not meet all official requirements to operate legally.
With reference the definition, the informal busines sector in the Gambia consists of all businesses that arwe not registered these include:
The major importance of the informal business sector is that it provides a very large quota of employment….and also helps in the devloment of communities through grass roots organisations.
Of course Government will be losing a lot of revenue in uncollected tax..but the employment factor far outways this if government had to shoulder this burden on its own. In addition as the business becomes more viable it will in evitably be drawn into the formal business sector… Therefore government should continue to give support to the informal sector.
The informal business sector like all businesses faces some constraints…but some of the major ones include Very little financial help from credit institutions that feel more comfortable with formal business organisations. Informal businesses are usually unable to meet requirements to obtain loans and grants.
Again this is mainly due to inadequate finances
The bulk of the mebers of the informal business sector have virtually no information that ca mak ethere businesses more succesful. Such as book keeping skills, investment and marketing strategies. This information is usually expensive to obtain by conventional means. SO low income earners tend not to be able to afford it. Even in cases where they can afford it people are usually intimidated by the formal environment in which this information is disseminated.Things like computer literacy tend to scare them away. They are also usually not literate in english although they may be literate in other languages.
The interenet enales faster and reliable communication with people all over the world. I t also provides an environment for aquiring knowlegde and informationthat would be relevant to a particular individual or group And finally it allows you to share your own information on a global scale.
Communication on the internet is mainly through electronic mail. Or Email. It is very fast and messages can be received a few sceonds after they have been sent. It is reliable in the sense that it will definitely go to the email box of the recipient except if the address is wrong. Finally and most important, email addresses can be obtained free from almost all internt service providers although of course one would need to gain access to the internet to use emails.
The world wide web orthe web is an almost infinite library where all kinds of information can be obtained. Research on particular subjects or topics can be easily carried out on the web through programs known as search engines Another important type of information that can be obtained is structured training. This is usually done at the users pace so theres is a very flexible and relaxed environment
Some of the popular search engines are ask.com yahoo.com altavista.com they usually have directories ofna variety subjects and topics. All of them have a search box that you can type your question in and click to search the internet for you.
There a several online training sites on the Internet. You can find them by typing online training in any search engine. One popular site is known as www.freeedu.com…... It has a whole section dedicated to business skills The courses are all free…
Creating a global presence is quite really easy on the world wide web. You could advertise on advertising banners onpopular websites or buy making entires in the guest books of these websites…you should check first though to see if there are any urles regarding entries on these guestbooks. One option is to create your own web page And you could even go further by registering with Directory lists and search engines so that information about you is shown when certain searches are performed.
Internet and the Informal Business Sector Internet Awareness Week 2000 (www.gambia.gm/iweek) Presented by: Agyeman Taqi