CARIBBEAN digital company, WiPay, is planning to create more than 1,000 free e-commerce websites or mobile apps for local small businesses and micro-enterprises.
Replicating Project 1000, which WiPay launched in Jamaica on last Friday, WiPay founder Aldwyn Wayne said bringing the idea to Trinidad and Tobago is the company’s attempt to kickstart a digital revolution.
“We realised that there were many people on the ground in T&T wanting to take part in this revolution, but they just did not have a website. So giving them e-commerce payment systems without a website was not filling that void,” Wayne told Tuesday’s launch of the project, which was held at the AMCHAMT&T offices in Port of Spain.
While the WiPay effort in Jamaica is meant to set a Guinness World Record, Wayne said the company’s ambition for T&T is bigger than a world record.
He said WiPay is attempting to create more than 1,000 e-commerce websites for T&T, not on a single livestream, but by assigning teams to go into towns across the country to help people build their websites. WiPay representatives will visit Point Fortin and Cross Crossing in San Fernando on May 4, Couva and Chaguanas on May 6 and Arima and Tacarigua (Eddie Hart Ground) on May 11.
“We would now go to every town in T&T and we would try to get the hairdressers, the nail technicians and the doubles man hooked up with an online website,” said Wayne.
The websites will be created by WiPay subsidiary, WiShops, which will provide an all-in-one, drag and drop e-commerce solution for businesses that enables creative people to build their online store in minutes and accept payments on their websites.
Unlike websites created by US companies, the websites established by WiPay will not require the payment of foreign exchange for ongoing hosting fees.
Also speaking at the launch was Member of Parliament for Point Fortin Kennedy Richards, who said it is important to get T&T known on a global market.
“When I saw the WiShops being first offered in Jamaica I reached out to WiPay’s chief executive officer Aldwyn Wayne about having this initiative here and I’m grateful that Beacon Insurance and Unit Trust made it happen. How I see it, is the average gyro vendor can now showcase his talent on the online store at the touch of a cellphone,” Richards said.
WiPay’s chairman, Gerald Hadeed, told the launch that entrepreneurship and small and micro-enterprises can be a front runner with oil and gas, to help build the economy which has taken a hit in the global pandemic.
“This is entrepreneurship at the highest, because there is a dire need, for the country to work to get itself out of where we are today. Oil and Gas can no longer supply and give us the money we need for the economy. What is needed is creative minds to build the economy. The Government can do so much, but the business community also needs to assist. Services is what would start to propel the country,” said Hadeed.
He also said WiPay intends to write to each of T&T’s 41 Members of Parliament to invite them to submit the names of ten small businesses who would receive a free website.
The Unit Trust Corporation’s vice-president of sales and service, Karrian Hepburn-Malcolm, said she saw an urgent need for Trinidad and Tobago to be on board with WiShops and e-commerce and the chance to enable businesses to foster digitalisation.
Hepburn-Malcolm explained that UTC has been doing a number of workshops with small and micro-enterprise owners teaching them how to properly go digital.
This venture set out by WiPay is being assisted by several sponsors and one of its leaders, the chief executive officer of the American Chamber of Commerce TT (AMCHAM), Nirad Tewarie, was also present at the launch.