SMMEstart is WhatsApp-based chat tool for businesses during COVID-19

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COVID-19 continues to be a reality for everyone in South Africa, and with the adjusted level 3 lockdown still in place, many businesses in the country are suffering as result of not being able to operate under normal circumstances. In order to assist said businesses, Praekelt.org in partnership with Arifu, Jozihub and Google have launched a new SMMEstart service on WhatsApp.

The chat-based tool was announced earlier this week, with it making actionable information, guidance and resources available to business owners to restart and grow their organisations during the pandemic and beyond.

Designed to be as easy to use as possible, SMMEstart can be accessed by simply texting the word “hi” in a WhatsApp message to +27 60 011 0110 or by heading to the following link.

The developers explain that once you message “hi” to the above number in WhatsApp, an automated welcome message will help users get started by replying with any of the words in bold from the SMMEstart menu.

These include:

  • REGISTER – Make the most of SMMEstart for your business
  • NEWS – SMME news and inspirational stories
  • FINANCIAL – Financial relief and help
  • TAX – Relief and help with tax
  • LEGAL – Access legal guidelines
  • HEALTH – Stay healthy
  • GROW – Resources to help you learn and grow
  • MARKETING – Market your business
  • FREE – Find free resources
  • SHARE – Tell others about SMMEstart

“The content and resources included have been developed based on the results of research that was conducted into the needs of micro, small and medium-sized business in South Africa – especially needs brought on by COVID-19,” highlights a press release regarding SMMEstart’s announcement.

“Among other insights, the needs assessment research confirmed that most businesses in the study experienced severe financial impact from COVID-19. Most respondents indicated that COVID-19 illuminated a need for business skills, predominantly skills relating to implementing sustainable, online business opportunities and digital marketing,” it adds.

This new WhatsApp-based chat tool is available 24/7 from your smartphone.

Robin-Leigh Chetty

Robin-Leigh Chetty

When he's not reviewing the latest smartphones, Robin-Leigh is writing about everything tech-related from IoT and smart cities, to 5G and cloud computing. He's also a keen photographer and dabbles in console games.

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