Zenith Bank, Google Launch Z.com For SMEs

Zenith Bank Ghana Limited has launched Z.com, a unique revolutionary business and banking solution developed in partnership with Google, for small and medium enterprises. The Z.com initiative, which is the first of its kind in West Africa, is expected to transform the Ghanaian SME landscape and have a real impact on the economy by bring thousands of businesses online. In Ghana, about 92 percent of businesses constitute SMEs and they contribute 70 percent of GDP. Z.com represents a bundle of free interactive website and a subsidised bouquet/package of electronic banking solutions, and it provides SMEs with free designing and hosting of websites and free domain-name registration. Other benefits are free participation at periodic SMEs workshop for technical and other skills support and subsided bundle of e-banking tools including Internet Banking, and Z- Prompt (Transactional Notification on sms and email platform) In addition, each website is linked to "Google Places" and visitors to these websites can leave their contact details and messages which will be sent via SMS to a designated phone number. Mr. Daniel Asiedu, MD/CEO of Zenith Bank, Ghana, explained that under the initiative the Bank hopes to provide 10,000 SMEs with a bundle of free interactive websites and Z.com presents the opportunity to facilitate the evolution of a web ecosystem with local business content relevant to Ghanaians and accessible to the world. �In a dynamic environment such as ours, it has become imperative for even the smallest of business organisations to look beyond the traditional methods and platforms in positioning their products and services. More than ever before, the Ghanaian entrepreneur is willing to compete within the global market and Z.com provides that smart option to achieving this dream just by banking with us.� Mr. Asiedu said Z.com will grant Ghanaian SMEs the much-needed global exposure -- thereby increasing their revenue streams, optimising their web presence and its attendant benefits, and growing SME businesses to enable them positively impact the economy. �Our step today is bold and imperative in the face of the indelible impact of the inter-related forces of technology and globalization which have far-reaching and profound implications for both small and big businesses. Indeed, the evolving scenario leaves businesses with two alternatives: leverage on technology and thrive, or reject technology and struggle. �For all the SMEs that will be choosing Z.com, it is a step in the right direction and a leap ahead of competition which will ultimately consolidate Ghana's foothold on the global Internet landscape. �We believe it is very important for us to be innovative in our collaborations and products not only to differentiate ourselves, but to add significant value to our customers and society in general. By this we are only living our vision, which is to be a �reference point in the provision of prompt, flawless and innovative banking services in the Ghanaian banking industry.� Our mission at Zenith Bank remains unchanged, �to continue to invest in the best people, technology and environment to underscore our commitment to achieving customer enthusiasm.� Ms. Estelle Akofio-Sowah, Country Lead Google Ghana, said: �We believe the power of the Internet will help small businesses to thrive; by bringing more local information online and making that information more accessible and useful to Ghanaians.� Dr. J.S. Annan, Deputy Minister of Trade, commended Zenith Bank and Google for such a positive collaboration that seeks to help SMEs grow and impact on the economy. He said the importance of SMEs cannot be overestimated, and government will support any collaborative efforts that accrue to their benefit.