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Tech City: Web hosting site Weebly wants to help entrepreneurs get their businesses online

PUBLISHED: 12:00 21 May 2016

Weebly's Dion McKenzie at the Tech City networking event (Picture: Elyse Marks)

Weebly's Dion McKenzie at the Tech City networking event (Picture: Elyse Marks)

Archant

In an ever changing world of retail, getting online is now more important than ever. Whether it’s to sell your products or to promote your brand, without an online presence few companies can make it in today’s day and age.

The Weebly networking event in Tech City (Picture: Elyse Marks)The Weebly networking event in Tech City (Picture: Elyse Marks)

With that in mind, website builders Weebly brought their “Grow Your Own” business road show to TechCity last week, to help young entrepreneurs take the first step toward creating an online presence.

“I think its one of the first things people think about when they’re starting a business, it’s the first kind of hurdle,” Dion McKenzie, UK manager for Weebly, told the Gazette.

“To be online shows credibility and provides that access point. It’s your online retail shop, and I think that is irreplaceable in today’s age, especially when we spend more time on our mobile devices and our desktops than we do actually talking or chatting to people outside.”

Founded in San Francisco in 2007, Weebly launched in the UK in October of last year, with the aim of adding more users to its already existing base of 30 million worldwide. It now has 2 million unique users in the UK, and hosted its recent event in Tech City to help the already thriving hub of entrepreneurs from the area establish themselves online.

“Really it was about meeting the entrepreneurs, small and medium businesses, people who are really thinking about getting their own businesses started, and helping them bring that online,” said Dion.

And Dion sees establishing your business online as the best way forward for any start ups today; “I think when you think of businesses now, you really need to have different and new elements. I know a lot of traditional retailers who are not around anymore because they haven’t moved online, and their business has suffered because of it.”

The Weebly road-show has been touring the country for just over a week, pulling up at events in London, Bristol, Birmingham and Manchester. Tech City, Dion tells us, was the obvious starting point for the tour, given its emergence as the main technology hub for the UK.

“I think that everything that’s happening in Tech City in general has been great for the UK. I think all the innovation that’s happening here really has opened people’s eyes to what’s actually possible, and how people can help them start their own business and become their own boss,” he said.

And is it really as easy as A B C? “I remember in the past if you wanted to start a website you’d have to ask a friend who could code, or a developer, and it would literally cost thousands and thousands. Now it cost less than a meal,” claimed Dion.

As part of their road-show Weebly have been showcasing their success stories to budding entrepreneurs, having them speak at the events and answer questions from the public. One of these is Whistle and Bango, a bespoke jewellery retailer who got started with Weebly two years ago.

“They really helped us as a company get off the ground” Ania Kubow, co-founder of the company, told the Gazette. “We knew how important it was to get online, but it was just a very complicated process.”

“A lot of the people I spoke to had a very similar set up to us in that they wanted to sell personalised products and were trying to figure out how to do that online. And they all knew that the sooner they could do that the better.”

The shift toward online operating, while gaining momentum over the past year, has certainly been occurring for some time now. Dion thinks that this technological revolution can’t come soon enough; “I think that everything has changed. I think the fact that kids are coming out of uni and looking to start their own thing, instead of become a banker or consultant, is great. And we see our company as a great opportunity for anyone that’s thinking of starting a business.”

For more information on how to get your business online with Weebly, visit weebly.com

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