Google launches project for S.African businesses

PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) ? Google has launched a project that makes it easy for South Africans to showcase small businesses on the Internet.

With a few clicks Thursday, the first entrepreneurs used Google Inc.’s Woza Online to create their own Web sites. Woza Online, which Google launched with help from South African government researchers and cash from mobile phone company Vodacom, offers free domain names with South Africa’s tag for the first 10,000 applicants.

South Africa has the most vibrant economy in Africa, but also is beset by high unemployment. The government sees small business as a key weapon in the fight to create jobs.

Elizabeth Thabethe, South Africa’s deputy minister of trade and industry, says businesses with Web presence “are able to be part of the globe.”