Many people in rural areas lack reliable internet services, making internet cafés profitable businesses if placed in the correct location.
This is the view of Sambulo Xulu (25) from KwaMaphumulo, in KwaZulu-Natal, who runs Gayezi Internet Café in this rural community.
After seeing the gap in the market, Xulu registered his internet café business in October 2019. Shortly after that, Xulu enrolled in a business training programme run by the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA).
“I gained valuable business skills thanks to the training and I had a solid plan. I applied for funding at the NYDA and, when I received the grant, I bought a container. I run my business using laptops that customers use to surf on the internet,” he says.
Gayezi Internet Café offers services such as scanning, photocopying, emailing, assisting with company registration, typing, laminating, and helps students with applications for higher education institutions.
Xulu says doing market research is important for one’s business to attract customers and make profit.
Before opening his internet café, Xulu saw people from around his community travelling to the nearest town to get the services that he now offers.
“I target students, teachers, and job seekers. The internet café is strategically located on the main road,” he explains.
Xulu says, even though nowadays almost everyone has a smartphone, many people still struggle with data.
Furthermore, some areas have poor reception, and some users do not have the necessary applications on their phones and so they need a facility like an internet café to work.
Xulu’s main challenge is a decline of customers during the festive season when no one is at school or work. His customer base usually increases in January when schools reopen and when jobseekers start to look for work.
“As much as my business is on the main road, there is potential for more clients if it can be located near a police station where many people go to certify documents. I am planning to make that move,” he says.
For more information on NYDA funding, contact the NYDA at 087 158 6345/ 5738 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org