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  • 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 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…... 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.
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    1. 1. Internet and the Informal Business Sector Internet Awareness Week 2000 ( Presented by: Agyeman Taqi
    2. 2. Internet and the Informal Business Sector <ul><li>Defining the Informal Business Sector </li></ul><ul><li>Significance of the Informal Business Sector </li></ul><ul><li>Constraints faced by the Informal Business Sector </li></ul><ul><li>Using the Internet to optimise the Informal Business Sector </li></ul><ul><li>Access to the Internet </li></ul>
    3. 3. Defining the Informal Business Sector <ul><li>General Perspective </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Small scale businesses </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Businesses that do not pay tax </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Legal Perspective </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Businesses which do not meet all official requirements for legality </li></ul></ul>
    4. 4. Constituents of the Informal Business sector in The Gambia <ul><ul><li>Most low income businesses and a few medium range income businesses </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Community Development/Grassroots groups </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Petty traders </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Black Market” foreign currency dealers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Craftsmen </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Unregistered businesses </li></ul>
    5. 5. Significance of the Informal Business Sector <ul><li>Employment </li></ul><ul><li>Encourages Community Development </li></ul>
    6. 6. Balance between Government’s losses and Society’s gains <ul><li>Government loses revenue in unpaid taxes </li></ul><ul><li>Aids Government in providing significant employment quota for society that cannot be met by formal sector </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Society becomes more self reliant </li></ul></ul><ul><li>As business grows and becomes more sustainable it will slowly move into the formal sector. </li></ul>
    7. 7. Constraints faced by the Informal Business Sector <ul><li>Lack of adequate credit facilities </li></ul><ul><li>Poor public relations </li></ul><ul><li>Limited access to relevant information needed to make informed decisions </li></ul>
    8. 8. Poor public relations <ul><li>Informal sector businesses are usually unknown to potential clients and investors/donors </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Little or no advertisement </li></ul></ul>
    9. 9. Limited access to relevant information <ul><li>Majority have little or no access to information needed to make their businesses more efficient </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of finances </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of know how (i.e. technology, literacy) </li></ul>
    10. 10. Using the Internet to optimise the Informal Business Sector <ul><li>Faster, reliable communication </li></ul><ul><li>Getting the right Information </li></ul><ul><li>Creating a global presence </li></ul>
    11. 11. Communications <ul><li>Email </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Fast </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Efficient </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Free </li></ul></ul>
    12. 12. Getting Information <ul><li>World Wide Web </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Information from anywhere in the world </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Research (Searching the web) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>search engines </li></ul></ul><ul><li>On line Training </li></ul><ul><ul><li>tutorial sites on the Internet </li></ul></ul>
    13. 13. Popular Search Engines
    14. 14. Online training <ul><li>Online courses </li></ul><ul><li>Business and other subjects </li></ul><ul><li>Free </li></ul>
    15. 15. Creating a global presence <ul><li>Register with Directory Lists and Search Engines </li></ul><ul><li>Advertise on the web </li></ul><ul><li>Make Guest book entries </li></ul><ul><li>Get your own web page </li></ul>
    16. 16. <ul><li>Global outreach to potential Creditors </li></ul><ul><li>Instant Feedback </li></ul>Womens grassroots organisation in India using the Internet
    17. 17. Directory Lists Open directory project <ul><li>AOL Search ( </li></ul><ul><li>AltaVista ( </li></ul><ul><li>HotBot ( </li></ul><ul><li>Google ( </li></ul><ul><li>Lycos ( </li></ul><ul><li>Netscape ( </li></ul><ul><li>Large public directory managed by Netscape </li></ul><ul><li>Two weeks to several months be listed </li></ul>
    18. 18. Access to the Internet <ul><li>Personal Computers </li></ul><ul><li>WebTV </li></ul><ul><li>Internet Cafes </li></ul><ul><li>Access to Value added services on the Internet </li></ul>
    19. 19. Personal Computers <ul><li>Relatively expensive </li></ul><ul><li>Affordable by only the high end earners of the Informal business sector (Very small percentage) </li></ul>
    20. 20. WebTV <ul><li>Connect using your TV and a web box </li></ul><ul><li>Cheaper than PC’s </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Affordable by medium range earners of the informal sector </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Not as efficient as PC’s </li></ul>
    21. 21. Internet Cafes <ul><li>Computer and language Literacy not a problem because skilled operators assist </li></ul><ul><li>Computers connected to </li></ul><ul><li>the Internet for access at a </li></ul><ul><li>price </li></ul><ul><li>Affordable by majority of the </li></ul><ul><li>Informal business sector </li></ul>
    22. 22. Access to Value added services <ul><li>Advertising </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Make entries on popular guestbooks (Free) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Advertise on popular websites (Relatively expensive) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Creating and Hosting web pages </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Use some of the free hosting services ( </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Contract web development and hosting companies to do professional pages (This is more suited to community groups) </li></ul></ul>
    23. 23. Advertising and Hosting on the Internet
    24. 24. Conclusion <ul><li>Enables the informal business sector to advertise or market their goods and services </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Increases the market </li></ul></ul><ul><li>It also provides a means of interacting with clients and potential creditors </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Communication is made easier </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Provides valuable information in a flexible manner to enable an informal business operate efficiently </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Access to the Internet is easy and reasonably affordable </li></ul></ul>
    25. 25. Conclusion (Cont’d) <ul><li>More Internet Cafes should be opened to provide access. </li></ul><ul><li>Government should continue to support the initiative by removing or significantly reducing duties on computers in order to make them more affordable to the informal sector </li></ul>
    26. 26. The Internet is for everyone. Access it.