Launch of South African ‘hubsites’ provides one-stop information spot for all things local
“I created On South Africa to empower, uplift and support South African businesses and charities, and to allow people the opportunity to follow their dreams. On South Africa is one simple, easy-to-use platform where businesses of all sizes are given equal opportunity to thrive,” said Sarah Whitaker, founder of the revolutionary new site, On South Africa (OnSA).
Prompted by the desire to see more companies given a usable marketing platform, while seeking a solution for a South African-based search engine, Durban’s Sarah Whitaker created the innovative ‘On South Africa’ website, launched in March. The ingenuity of the site is that Sarah has merged 12 separate websites or ‘hubsites’ – as she’s named them – offering a user-friendly experience for anyone searching for a local business or service.
The stunning graphics and interactive design of the hubsites reflects Sarah’s creative talents. Despite no previous computer background, she has managed to master online graphics and web creation, incorporating her naturally artistic talents. An art teacher and self-taught glass artist, Sarah has featured on Top Billing as well as being named a finalist in the KZNSA Nivea Art Start Awards.
“The hubsites will give all South African businesses a platform and an opportunity to be seen,” explained the dynamic mother-of-three. “As it stands, there isn’t one comprehensive place where South African companies can go to market their business, which means there isn’t one place where the public can go to find these gems. I’m hoping that OnSA will support, empower and unite communities across South Africa.”
Sarah explained that the 12 interconnected hubsites act like energised mini-search engines with each site theme-based and further divided into provinces, regions and cities. This whittles down the search, making it much more relevant. Each hubsite has also been developed with a forum allowing the public to create a profile and contribute towards the site.
“OnSA is one place where companies can tastefully promote themselves directly to their target market and there is absolutely no invasive or aggressive marketing,” she explained. “I’ve designed the sites with no pop-ups, no flashing adverts, no spamming, mailing lists or bots. It’s just a simple, user-friendly place where people can connect.”
Users will go to the main website – www.onsouthafrica.com – which is linked to 11 other hubsites, all of which are interconnected.
There is a minimal fee of R150 per company per month to feature on the hubsite, which will give information on each company’s background, as well as connecting the user directly to the company’s website or social media page. Companies can apply directly to appear on each hubsite by simply filling in the application form located under the ‘join us’ tab on each hubsite. There are no contracts and it is all on a month-to month-basis, designed to assist entrepreneurs.
Another employment opportunity exists with the creation of OnSA Ambassadors, who will be selected to enlist companies to appear on the hubsites and, in turn, will receive payment for this recruitment. There will be 20 candidates selected from each province to fill the roles of OnSA Ambassadors.
Because community engagement and social upliftment are at the heart of OnSA, each company featured selects a charity to promote, with R5 then being donated to their chosen charity monthly. The charity is given further exposure through the inclusion of its logo, directing traffic to the charity’s website and encouraging additional donations.
Sarah said that, once OnSA is fully established, her next step would be to create further employment by offering to set up free websites for entrepreneurs who can’t afford to hire web designers, or who aren’t tech-savvy enough to do it themselves.
“There are so many great ideas and companies out there that don’t stand a chance because of a lack of marketing ability or opportunity,” said Sarah. “My hope is that OnSA can really make a difference in the lives of these entrepreneurs, while also making it easier for locals, out-of-town visitors and tourists to access quality businesses and services quickly and easily.”
For more information or to get involved visit www.onsouthafrica.com