Earlier today, an article was posted on SBWire about January’s Small Business of Month named by ITNow Magazine. It is a flower company based on San Jose, Costa Rica called For del Este, but has received this award and others like it based on its website and e-commerce success in CostaRicaFlores.com. The small business owner, Lorena Delgado, noticed that there was a declining market for this local business for a multiplicity of infrastructural and economic reasons. To revamp her business, she contacted a web marketing an development firm called MiWeb, whose CEO “proposed a service for Flor del Este that included developing an online presence, marketing the e-commerce website and providing digital analytics.” From this, Flor del Este has seen 80 straight months of continued growth and has won a few awards for this successful ICT venture.
It is interesting to me that a small local business with an owner who lacks”tech-savvy” skills simply made a promotion and e-commerce website that completely changed the business, for his instance for the better. Clearly, she has access to contacts, a computer, the Internet, and other necessary IT components for this project, but is still in a country where many others around her might not have that luxury. I question how the audience shifts after this Internet venture took hold of the company, and if that change expanded profit margins in addition to providing growth. Local business like Flor del Este often cater to their local audiences. But CostaRicaFlores.com had the capacity to change that and create a new economic culture of the business.
To us, especially here in the United States, creating a website is a staple not only for business, large and small, but for essentially an venture people wish to promote. The Internet is less to a tool we utilize and more of a necessity for most business and entrepreneurial ventures. Yet, in other countries and for other business, like Flor del Este, creating a website and using cyber space for advertising and commerce is not automatic. As opposed to starting the business off with this ICT phenomenon embedded in the initial infrastructure of the business, such technologies are added and then integrated into the business. This is a very clear example of the digital divide we have been discussing: the difference between initial access and delayed access to technology, in this case between the formation of a website.