Digital Services for entrepreneurs throughout the World.

Digital Services delivered from Africa-Photo Damian-Patkowski-Unsplash
Digital Services delivered from Africa-Damian-Patkowski-Unsplash

The Digital Economy, and in particular digital or dematerialised services, represent new Opportunities for Entrepreneurs in 2023

I – Business prospects for developing countries

Business prospects in developing countries, especially in traditional trade, for a young entrepreneur, are most of the time already cornered by economic stakeholders already present on these markets. Therefore, for a newcomer, it is preferable to turn to external markets not yet monopolised by certain local players. Especially, by offering quality digital services with high added value and above all with an excellent quality/price ratio, entrepreneurs can successfully compete with the other players.

II – The Digital Economy and Digital Services

Thanks to dematerialised services, international markets are accessible to entrepreneurs.

What are they?

  • Copywriting or writing for the Web
  • Training and video-conferencing courses
  • Social networking or Community Manager
  • Digital marketing
  • Designing showcase and/or commercial websites
  • Search Engine Optimisation or SEO for website visibility and digital identity, a vector for qualified prospects.
  • Translation and interpretation online and/or via videoconferencing.

II – 1 New needs in terms of digital services and/or dematerialised services

Today’s companies, whatever their activities, whether industrial, commercial or service-based, must have a presence on the Internet. Moreover, they must also have a virtual shop window, because it is an essential vector of their communication with their prospects and customers.

Consequently, this presence on the Web requires new services (copywriting, animation of social network pages, referencing, page design, etc.).

Above all, these services are mostly outsourced, subcontracted as they are specific skills. It is obviously more profitable for the company to call on a specialised service provider. The advantage of these digital services is that they can be carried out remotely and by a contractor who is not residing in the country of the client.

Digital services and international development opportunities.
Digital services and international development opportunities.

III – The Demand Markets for Digital Services

What are the markets available for the above needs?

Primarily all companies in developed countries, whose salaries or consultancy fees are relatively high, compared to what a consultant in an emerging country can offer.

One example of the implementation of a cloud service is the establishment of call centres in low wage countries. This trend was particularly noticeable in Morocco in the 2000s for French call centres, and in India for English call centres). Eastern Europe has attracted more and more call centre operators in recent years. They provide customer services in French, English, Spanish and Portuguese. Employees from several countries, both European and non-European (Brazil, Cameroon, etc.) have chosen to settle in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, for example.

This type of service has been made possible by VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) technology. Previously, traditional telephone costs would have been prohibitive. The development of call centres has therefore seen an obvious migration to low-wage countries such as Bulgaria, Madagascar, certain African countries, etc.

These new services undeniably represent an important source of turnover for emerging countries that do not have an industry sufficiently developed to generate enough income for their economic development.

III – 1 Where are the principals?

  • Large companies and SMEs.
  • Public administrations in developed countries, although there is a risk of payment difficulties.

For the above reason, it is preferable to target small and large private companies.

It is also essential to secure contracts drawn up by competent lawyers with all the guarantees of payment at term.

III – 2 How to contact them?

We no longer prospect as we did in the 70s, 80s, 90s and even 2000.

Prospects (especially in Europe) hate being harassed by telephone or being bombarded with e-mails. Using the telephone is still possible, when the prospect is in a maturity phase, so that he does not feel the call as an intrusion into his private life.

The approach is more that of Inbound Marketing, respecting the 4 phases of maturity of the prospect:

  • Attract. (turn strangers into visitors)
  • Convert. (turn visitors into LEADs)
  • Close. (turn LEAD sinto customers)
  • Delight.(turn customers into promoters)

The prospect « does his market » by entering keywords on Google or Bing. He then finds sites that appear more or less on the first page of the search results. The prospect consults the first sites, examines them. Then, if he finds that his initial search matches the results found, he clicks on the contact form to find out more about the company on the website concerned, in order to initiate an initial communication. The presence on specialised social networks (LinkedIn, Instagram and incidentally Facebook) follows the same logic.

Of course, some may argue that you can always attend trade shows to meet prospects. The approach here is to work remotely and thus obtain prospects that will turn into customers (LEADs). Visiting trade shows is time-consuming. It undeniably does not provide the same return on time investment that a good, well-referenced website may generate. The presence on a booth is useful and justified to establish a notoriety and a presence at the local, national level. All the more so when the company has to show products. In the field of services and in particular digital, dematerialised or digital services, a presence on the internet is sufficient.

III – 3 – Specialised social networks, vectors of high potential prospects

How useful are social networks for companies?

A real viral marketing tool in addition to websites, social networks are a great way to reach more prospects. They are effective levers for boosting the online visibility of your company and increasing the number of visitors to your website.

III – 4 The role of the middleman

It is not always easy to convince European companies to do business with companies outside Europe, for several reasons.

As soon as a European company sends funds outside Europe, the tax authorities concerned are suspicious. Most worrying issues are risk of money laundering, diversion of funds under cover of services, etc.

A local intermediary located in the Indian Ocean, for example, especially if he is European and has a fairly good knowledge of the culture of the client and that of local service providers, makes it possible to remove obstacles and provide reassurance. The company that is able to demonstrate good practices provides guarantees of good governance and respect for ethical standards for European companies. This is particularly valuabe if these companies have already obtained SMETA and ECOVADIS labels evidencing their respect for ethical standards and good practices.

Furthermore, it is also essential to take into account the intercultural aspect when dealing with the whole world. Globalisation has not erased cultural specificities, which must be taken into account in any commercial relationship. Certain training courses provide a good understanding of intercultural issues.  

IV – The price of services in Europe and in developed countries

The prices generally observed in France for example, for some digital services are as follows:

  • French/English translation rate € 0.16/source word (€ 48/page of 300 words or MGA 216,000 gross.
  • Web writing in French or English at a similar rate.
  • Video conference training from € 60 to € 100/hour gross).
  • Consecutive interpreting in videoconference € 100/hour gross

The above are average prices for a service delivered directly to a client.

IV – Offering high value-added digital services

Offering remote digital services puts the service provider in competition with the world, with all the other providers able to offer the same services.

The writer of this article observed in the 2000s, when affordable ADSL internet became more and more popular, the competition that followed in the field of technical translation. French-speaking translators based in Turkey, Morocco or even Africa were able to offer much cheaper fees, because their living and business conditions were also cheaper.

However, the quality was not always there, and French translators, for example, who wanted to maintain their turnover had to increase their skills and specialise in fields that were not yet accessible to those who had not really studied at an excellent translation school, or who had not acquired enough experience under the supervision of a highly trained senior translator.

This is still true today. Offering digital services to the whole world gives access to a much larger market than a local market, but competition requires the service provider to improve his skills.

IV- 1 The need for specialisation to generate high added value

A translator can, for example, become a specialist in European law and translate documents drafted by lawyers who provide tax rulings to the French or Belgian tax authorities, etc. This is a dual skill (law and translation). This observation also applies to other services, such as writing articles for the Web. Thousands and thousands of words can be produced by filling in and focusing on keywords. However, some websites, such as those of lawyers, cannot be satisfied with rough writing skills. Again, it is necessary to become more skilled. It is therefore necessary to supplement initial language training, for example, with a translation or writing course.

IV -2 The observed cost of high value-added digital services

In the global market for digital paperless services, it is undeniable that the following elements must be taken into account

  • The price of the services usually charged in the applicant’s country.
  • The cost of living in the client’s country.
  • The fees of the international competition.
  • The level of performance of the competitors.
  • Niche market position or not (little competition and high demand from specific clients with special needs).

In order to stand out from the competition, it will obviously be necessary to provide a high added value to the services offered.

An important point to take into account is the fact that thanks to technological means of communication, it is now possible to offer services related to very specific skills, which would not have met sufficient demand on a national market. Addressing the whole world widens the catchment area (or trade area). Being in a niche market also allows you to maintain a good level of service and avoid having to sell off your skills to get clients!

IV – 2. 1 Writing for the Web or copywriting

Copywriting (or writing for the web) is writing text for advertising or other forms of marketing. The product, called copy or sales copy, is written content that aims to increase brand awareness and ultimately persuade a person or group to make a particular decision.

Photo 4 Distance learning and digital delivery

IV – 2.2 Video conference training

Videoconference training consists of training trainees at a distance using the possibilities offered by modern videoconferencing facilities (Skype, TEAMS, ZOOM etc.). Training via videoconferencing requires adapting the pedagogy to make an effective transition between face-to-face and distance training.

The advantages are greater mobility, reduced costs (no travel) and flexibility in the organisation of sessions.

IV – 2.3 Translation for web-based content

The multiplicity of websites and their associated content has created new needs for texts of all kinds, including their adaptation into other languages.

The quality of texts on the web varies greatly. There are therefore editorial requirements for quality content.

In some cases, however, it is necessary to acquire real training before offering translation services.

IV – 2.4 Video conference interpreting

Video conference interpreting is very similar to video conference training.

The author of this article’s last assignment consisted of oral translation or interpretation from English into French and from French into English between an American interlocutor in Scandinavia and French administration staff located in Brittany to discuss regulatory issues prior to an intervention on site. The interpreter was in the Indian Ocean.

At the appointed time, the various people involved joined a virtual videoconference room and the service took place as if the various participants had been present in a physical room.

The undeniable advantage is the reduced cost of the overall service, since the people concerned do not have to travel. However, the time zones of each participant must be taken into account.

V – Internet in large cities in developing countries

TELMA ORANGE AIRTEL the essential partners of the digital entrepreneur in Madagascar.

It is gratifying to note that Internet capacities in developing countries, particularly in large cities, have progressed considerably since the 2000s.

A service provider located in Africa or more particularly in the Indian Ocean, delivering digital services to European customers, cannot afford to invoke low network bandwidth or load shedding problems. The same level of quality must be delivered as in Europe, for example.

V – 1 Internet situation in Madagascar Capacity, bandwidth and cost

Internet and mobile providers in Madagascar

« The digital economy remains one of the most promising sectors for developing countries in terms of job creation, foreign exchange earnings and growth.

Looking at the state of the Internet network in Madagascar and its coverage, the following points can be noted:

A strengthening of five Internet Exchange Points (IXPs). This is the new initiative announced by the Coalition for a Digital Africa, which seeks to strengthen the Internet infrastructure across the African continent. It is explained that the aim is to strengthen five existing Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) in order to improve Internet access by making it faster and more affordable for Internet users in the regions served by these IXPs. « 

Source : 08/02/2023 09 :36 © Midi Madagasikara

VI – Initial investment to provide digital services

The investment required to start providing remote services based in a large city in a developing country offering a satisfactory quality of connection varies, and depends mainly on the type of services offered.

In simple terms, it is possible to start up with an initial investment of €3000, including the costs of setting up a sole proprietorship and the purchase of the minimum computer equipment and an internet box. For more information on the formalities and costs of setting up a business or company, you should consult the websites of the institutions that allow the creation of businesses in the countries concerned. In Madagascar, for example, consult the website of the Economic Development Board of Madagascar.


The world is changing, and for the better! Many traditional activities (training, consulting, design and manufacture of objects, etc.) can be redesigned and carried out differently and better, by adding value.

Dematerialised services in the digital economy represent for emerging and developing countries income opportunities that are essential for the development of these countries, thanks to the export of various services.

For this reason, the new service providers able to provide these services will have to bear in mind that they are in competition with the whole world. As a matter of fact, their very specific and high-level skills will enable them to take market shares.

Setting up a digital services company in your country or elsewhere and selling internationally is an ambitious project, but quite feasible with the right support. With our coaching and advice, you will be able to embark on this adventure with serenity and take advantage of the opportunities offered by the global market. So don’t wait any longer, contact us today and together we can build your success!

Copyright Patrick Lemarié 13 02 2023. Quoting and using extracts from this article is acceptable (for information, French law of 1957). Shamelessly plundering is another matter, which will be subject to appropriate measures at the discretion of the present author.

The partial use of this article in its original form or its adaptation into languages other than English will have to be the subject of an express request to the present writer.


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Editor’s profile:


Consultant en Management International. traducteur interprète, Professeur Associé. Consultant in International Management. French online teacher. Translator. Interpreter. Associate professor.

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