Google has launched an initiative to help small businesses across the UK through a package of support, products and tools.
By the end of 2021 Google says it aims to have helped one million small British businesses, mainly through making them easier to find online, through its Open for Business scheme.
Working alongside the government’s Digital Boost campaign, Google will offer 10,000 hours of free mentoring over the course of the next 12 months, with the help available to UK-based small businesses and charities.
In addition, Google says that £25 million worth of advertising credits and grants will be distributed to British small business concerns, along with government agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
Google Digital Garage
Training also forms a key part of the aid package, with Google announcing that it will help to boost the digital skills of 100,000 people using the Google Digital Garage free training program across the same time period.
Ronan Harris, Google Managing Director, UK said: “Local businesses are the lifeblood of our communities. Like millions up and down the country, we want to help small businesses both survive and thrive. Through this programme we’re aiming to upskill SMEs and charities by helping them adapt to operating in a post lockdown environment.
Despite the ongoing uncertainty, we want to show that having an online presence can have a transformative impact on offline businesses”.
Being found online is central to helping businesses get back on their feet. In an Ipsos research study, 90% of surveyed people visited a business if it had shared images on Google Search and Google Maps. Unsurprisingly, 90% of people are more likely to interact with a business if they have a phone number listed on the internet.
Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer, welcomed the move, stating: “Our small businesses form the backbone of the British economy, fuelling growth and creating jobs in communities across the country. This has been a difficult time for them, and that’s why I am delighted that today Google have announced this plan to help small businesses recover from the crisis.
We will all play a part in this national effort to get the UK open for business again safely. Google’s initiative to support our smallest firms is a great step forward in getting our economy back on track.”