Author Archives: Ruth Porat

Expanding pathways into higher education and the workforce

Google believes that to have sustainable economic growth, we must have inclusive growth. It is why we developed the Grow with Google digital skills training program, which provides free training to help individuals grow their careers and businesses. Through our digital skilling programs and Google.org grantees, we have helped put nearly 170,000 Americans into new jobs, and of these, 67% are from underrepresented groups, including 44% women. Our Google Career Certificates, available on Coursera, have helped people enter high-growth career fields including Data Analytics, IT Support, Project Management and User Experience Design. Because we believe that collective action is key to success, we created a network of more than 150 companies who accept the Grow with Google Certificates as credentials for roles, including Walmart, Infosys, Verizon and of course, Google (and we are hiring, by the way!).

Today, we’re announcing an expansion of our Google Career Certificates program, including furthering our partnerships with community colleges, translating our Google Career Certificates into college credit and partnering with four-year universities to prepare students for in-demand jobs.

1. Providing community colleges with free access to Google Career Certificates

Community colleges are critical to workforce development and economic mobility, providing accessible education options for millions of Americans and opening doors to opportunities that would otherwise be out of reach. With 44% of American undergraduates attending community colleges, and as the primary institutions serving students from underrepresented groups, there is no doubt they play an invaluable role across the U.S.

Beginning today, the Google Career Certificate program is free for all community colleges and career and technical education (CTE) high schools to add to their curriculum. We will also be partnering with the American Association of Community Colleges, the primary advocacy group for U.S. community colleges and their 12 million students. All of these schools will now be able to onboard this curriculum for free.

2. Translating our Google Career Certificates into college credit

All our Google Career Certificates are now recommended by the American Council on Education for up to 12 college credits (the equivalent to four college courses). For the more than 36 million Americans who have some post-secondary education but no college degree, Google Career Certificates can help provide an affordable on-ramp back to earning their diploma.

3. Partnering with four-year universities to prepare students for in-demand jobs

We are also partnering with four-year universities that are accepting credit for the Google Career Certificates, including Northeastern, Purdue Global, Arizona State University and SUNY, to help increase earning potential and provide students with direct pathways to jobs. For example, a psychology major who acquires data analysis skills can unlock more than 100,000 additional entry-level jobs paying on average $60,000, versus $39,000 for psychology majors overall.

What inspires us to do this work are the real-life stories we hear every day. Like Chelsea Rucker, who was struggling to make ends meet before she took the Google IT Support Certificate through our grantee Goodwill and got a job at Google. Or Natalie Burns, who, while attending community college in Texas, earned her IT certificate and got a job in cybersecurity with a salary three times higher than her previous retail role. These are the stories that drive us, and we will continue to help people develop the digital skills they need to participate in this economy, and gain confidence that they have valuable options for their future.

Bringing COP26 to people everywhere

This November at COP26, global leaders will meet in Glasgow to discuss how to jointly address the challenge of climate change. Recent research has found that more than 70% of the global population is concerned or fearful about climate change. So we’re focused on making this year’s conference accessible to everyone. In partnership with the COP26 Presidency, we’ll livestream the activities through YouTube and Google Arts and Culture, helping COP26 expand the reach of its digital channels. YouTube creators at the conference will create content to share with their global audiences, and we’ll publish video, imagery and artworks from “the green zone” — the center of COP26 activity — via a new page on Google Arts and Culture, inviting people everywhere to learn about the discussions and activities taking place.

"I'm delighted COP26 is partnering with Google to help bring the Green Zone of COP26 to the world in a few days’ time,” COP President-Designate Alok Sharma said. “With more than 200 captivating and diverse events on offer we want everyone to have the opportunity to learn more about climate action and help protect our planet."

Our work at COP26 is part of our larger third decade of climate action strategy. We’re not only committed to be more sustainable in how Google operates as a business, but we’re also focused on building new technologies to make sure that partners, enterprise customers and the billions of people who use Google products every day can be more sustainable as well.

How we’re leading at Google

At Google, our goal is to achieve net zero emissions across all of our operations and value chain by 2030. We aim to reduce the majority of our emissions (versus our 2019 baseline) before 2030, and plan to invest in nature-based and technology-based carbon removal solutions to neutralize our remaining emissions.

We were the first major company to operate as carbon neutral in 2007, and have matched our energy use with 100 percent renewable energy for four years in a row. Last year we set a moonshot goal to operate on 24/7 carbon-free energy by 2030 for all of our data centers and campuses. That means that by the end of the decade, we aim to deliver every search, every email, and every YouTube video without emitting carbon. We’re making strong progress — in 2020 we achieved 67% carbon-free energy on an hourly basis across our data centers, up from 61% in 2019. Five of our data centers, including those in Denmark and Finland, are at or near 90% carbon-free energy.

On our campuses we’re investing in sustainable energy innovations, like dragonscale solar and geothermal pilings, to get us closer to our goal to be carbon-free by 2030. We hope these new technologies will inspire similar projects from others that advance sustainability without compromising design and aesthetics.

How we’re enabling our partners

Urban areas are currently responsible for 70% of the world’s carbon emissions. Last year we pledged to help more than 500 cities reduce one gigaton of carbon emissions per year by 2030 via Google’s Environmental Insights Explorer (EIE). EIE is helping major cities, including Amsterdam, Birmingham UK and Copenhagen, map their emissions data, solar potential, and air quality for their remediation plans.

Technology can also help cities decarbonize in more direct ways. We recently shared an early research project that is deploying AI to help cities make their traffic lights more efficient, and we have a pilot program in Israel accomplishing this. So far, we have seen a 10-20% reduction in fuel consumption and delay time at intersections. We’re excited to expand this pilot to Rio de Janeiro and beyond.

Finally, we’re helping business customers like Whirlpool, Etsy, HSBC, Unilever and Salesforce develop solutions for the specific climate change challenges they face. Unilever is working with the power of Google Cloud and satellite imagery through Google Earth Engine to help avoid deforestation in their supply chain. At Cloud Next, we launched Carbon Footprint, a tool that helps large and small businesses understand their gross carbon emissions associated with the electricity of their Google Cloud Platform usage. This new information will help companies track progress toward their own climate targets.

How we’re aiming to empower everyone

In addition to businesses, increasingly individuals are focused on what more they can do to help the planet. That’s why we committed to help 1 billion people make more sustainable choices by 2022 through Google’s products and services. Recently, we shared several new ways people can use Google’s products to make sustainable choices — from choosing eco-friendly routes and searching for greener flights, hotels, and appliances to supporting clean energy from home with Nest and surfacing authoritative information on climate change from sources like the United Nations.

Google’s goal is to make the sustainable choice an easier choice — for governments, businesses, and individuals. We look forward to a carbon-free future and are excited to continue the conversation at COP26.

Continuing to support small businesses

Google’s work to address broad societal issues, such as climate change and digital skilling, focuses on creating solutions that are scalable and replicable by others. We believe solutions to global issues are most effective when the private sector, governments, nonprofits and academia come together to reinforce each other’s efforts. At Google, we focus on where we can best contribute to help make those efforts successful.

One example of this is the approach we have taken with Opportunity Finance Network (OFN), a network of Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs). At the beginning of the pandemic, we announced the creation of the Grow with Google Small Business Fund and committed $130 million in loans and grants. Our shared goal with OFN is to help CDFIs and small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in the United States access funding they need to grow. The more than 30 million small businesses in the U.S. are the backbone of the economy and employ nearly half of the private workforce. Importantly, CDFIs focus on SMBs often overlooked by traditional lenders, serving people of color, those with low income, SMBs in rural areas and women. We subsequently increased our commitment and allocated an additional $50 million to support SMBs in the Black community. We were motivated by our conviction that economic growth is sustainable only if it is truly inclusive.

Today, I spoke at OFN’s annual conference and was proud to share that Google has, to date, placed more than 90% of our $180 million commitment. In addition, I announced a new $5 million Google.org grant to OFN to help CDFIs use technologies that support their small business lending, allowing them to scale and innovate as they work to meet the needs of the communities they serve.

We are excited about the work that we have led with OFN to help small businesses in overlooked communities, but we recognize that we are just one piece of a much larger puzzle. As is true with a lot of our work, our greatest impact lies in motivating others to join us, and we are proud that several other companies have made commitments to OFN and the CDFI ecosystem over the past year. We look forward to working alongside even more companies in the future and are hopeful that others will see this momentum and be inspired by it as we are.

Increasing Google’s investment in New York

Google has been fortunate to call New York City home for more than 20 years, during which time we have grown to 12,000 employees. New York’s vitality, creativity and world-class talent are what keep us rooted here. It is why we’re announcing today that we are deepening our commitment to New York and intend to purchase the St. John’s Terminal in Manhattan for $2.1 billion, which will serve as the anchor of our new Hudson Square campus. 

As Google moves toward a more flexible hybrid approach to work, coming together in person to collaborate and build community will remain an important part of our future. It is why we continue investing in our offices around the world. Our decision to exercise our option to purchase St. John’s Terminal further builds upon our existing plans to invest more than $250 million this year in our New York campus presence. It is also an important part of meeting our previously announced racial equity commitments, which include continuing to grow our workforce in diverse communities like New York.

The St. John’s Terminal site at 550 Washington Street, which we currently lease and expect to open by mid-2023, will be one part of the already sizable investment we’ve made in New York — Google’s largest office outside California. We’ve made substantial progress in building out our 1.7 million-square-foot Hudson Square campus that will serve as the New York headquarters for our Global Business Organization, which includes our sales and partnership teams. The St. John’s Terminal transaction will close in the first quarter of 2022.

St. John’s Terminal is a former freight facility that is being reimagined into a highly sustainable, adaptable and connected building. Its biophilic design connecting people more closely to nature will add numerous outdoor open spaces and reconnect the Hudson Square neighborhood to the waterfront. The building will also offset 100% of its carbon in support of Google’s ambitious carbon goals. 

A rendering of Google's Hudson Square campus, overlooking the water and the city skyline.

The development’s biophilic design will feature numerous outdoor spaces (credit: COOKFOX Architects)

Construction is also proceeding at Pier 57, which we expect will be completed next year. This space will provide new opportunities for us to engage with our community neighbors, and will include office space occupied by Google, a public food hall, community space, galleries, the city’s largest public rooftop space and educational and environmental programs run by the Hudson River Park Trust.

We know that like many places around the world, New York has been significantly impacted by the pandemic, and we’re extremely focused on helping local communities, organizations and people emerge stronger from this crisis. For example, since 2005, Google has provided over $170 million in grant funding to nonprofits in New York. In the Hudson Square neighborhood in particular, we’re supporting the new Jackie Robinson Museum opening next year with a grant to help deliver new educational programming for students. We’ve also provided grant funding to the Children’s Museum of the Arts to help launch new digital programming for childhood arts education and to God’s Love We Deliver to offer free nutritious meals and services for those living with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other serious illnesses.

We also continue to invest in nurturing the next generation of tech talent and ensuring New Yorkers have equitable access to quality education, training and resources. Our Grow with Google programs are helping to create new pathways to in-demand tech jobs for people most impacted by the pandemic. Through Google’s skilling programs, more than 3,800 New Yorkers have completed a certificate program to date. We are working with select CUNY/SUNY Schools to add Google Certificates to their curriculum as part of the SUNY for All free online training program.

These investments we are making in our NYC campus presence will give us the capacity to grow our workforce in the city to more than 14,000 employees in the coming years, and we look forward to continuing to be an active part of New York City’s vibrant community.

Our 2020 environmental report

Today, we released our 2020 Environmental Report that outlines how we’re reducing the environmental footprint of our operations and working to help people everywhere live more sustainably. 

This work has been part of Google’s DNA since our founding in 1998. Part of our culture after we’ve hit a milestone is to ask ourselves “what more can we do?”, and we are applying that to our climate objectives. So for example, after becoming carbon neutral in 2007 — the first major company to do so — we later set a goal to match 100% of our electricity consumption with renewable energy and accomplished that for the first time in 2017. 

We’re proud of the environmental work we’ve done. Our recent achievements include: 

We’re in the early innings of this fight. That’s why we’ve committed to building upon this solid foundation with our most audacious set of goals yet, which we announced in September. By 2030, we’re aiming to operate on 24/7 carbon-free energy and add 5 GW of carbon-free energy through investments across key manufacturing regions. We’re also keenly focused on empowering people and communities to take action. By 2022, we aim to help 1 billion people make more sustainable choices through our products (think bike shares and electric charging stations listed on Google Maps), and by 2030 we plan to help more than 500 cities and local governments reduce a total of 1 gigaton of carbon emissions annually.

It’s critical to regularly track our environmental commitments and share updates with stakeholders. Data and transparency are important markers of the progress we’re all making to protect our planet, so we’ll continue to publish reports like this one and our Supplier Responsibility Report.

We are committed to leading the fight against climate change and will keep working to help people, cities and governments make important choices that will result in positive change. 

Our 2020 environmental report

Today, we released our 2020 Environmental Report that outlines how we’re reducing the environmental footprint of our operations and working to help people everywhere live more sustainably. 

This work has been part of Google’s DNA since our founding in 1998. Part of our culture after we’ve hit a milestone is to ask ourselves “what more can we do?”, and we are applying that to our climate objectives. So for example, after becoming carbon neutral in 2007 — the first major company to do so — we later set a goal to match 100% of our electricity consumption with renewable energy and accomplished that for the first time in 2017. 

We’re proud of the environmental work we’ve done. Our recent achievements include: 

We’re in the early innings of this fight. That’s why we’ve committed to building upon this solid foundation with our most audacious set of goals yet, which we announced in September. By 2030, we’re aiming to operate on 24/7 carbon-free energy and add 5 GW of carbon-free energy through investments across key manufacturing regions. We’re also keenly focused on empowering people and communities to take action. By 2022, we aim to help 1 billion people make more sustainable choices through our products (think bike shares and electric charging stations listed on Google Maps), and by 2030 we plan to help more than 500 cities and local governments reduce a total of 1 gigaton of carbon emissions annually.

It’s critical to regularly track our environmental commitments and share updates with stakeholders. Data and transparency are important markers of the progress we’re all making to protect our planet, so we’ll continue to publish reports like this one and our Supplier Responsibility Report.

We are committed to leading the fight against climate change and will keep working to help people, cities and governments make important choices that will result in positive change. 

An update on our efforts to help Americans navigate COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented challenges and emphasized how important it is for each of us to do our part to help find solutions. I’m sharing an update here on how Google is contributing to keep people safe and helping to get American businesses back up and running.

Contributing to economic recovery efforts

As I’ve written earlier, to help small businesses gain easier access to badly-needed capital, we founded the $170 million Grow with Google Small Business Fund alongside $10 million in Google.org grants, with an aim to help the most underserved small businesses, particularly those owned by women and minorities. In collaboration with Opportunity Finance Network, more than $53 million dollars of loans and Google.org grants have been allocated to community partners who are focused on serving rural, women, Black, Latino and Native borrowers, which helps American communities start to get back on their feet. Tires by Papi and Bailiwick Clothing Company are two such examples.


Of course, our greatest contribution continues to be developing products to help people stay informed, adapt and get through this pandemic. 

According to the Connected Commerce Council, nearly one in three small business owners report that without digital tools they would close all or parts of their business. To help small businesses, we rolled out many new, free product features earlier this year, so that they can inform their customers about things like takeout, delivery, no-contact delivery, or curbside pickup. Today, people can now find this information on Search and Maps for more than 2 million restaurants and retailers in the U.S.


Using Search and Maps, you can find information about businesses.

We’ve used Google’s Duplex technology to make calls to businesses and confirm things like temporary closures. This has enabled us to make 3 million updates to business information globally, which have been seen by people over 20 billion times in Search and Maps. 


To help people searching for jobs, we have stepped up to help in many ways. We added new relevant features in the U.S. like showing jobs that can be done remotely. Google Cloud has partnered with different states to help jobseekers: we assisted Rhode Island’s Virtual Career Center, a new platform that  connects thousands of jobseekers with jobs and employment services; worked with the State of Illinois to develop a 24/7 Virtual Intelligent Agent on the IDES website; developed a chatbot, in partnership with the New Jersey Office of Innovation to provide real-time answers to the 20 most popular unemployment questions. These are just some of the examples. 


We also transformed our free Grow with Google training to virtual formats and have already trained more than 1 million Americans on digital skills this year. The Google IT Support Professional Certificate—which takes beginner learners to entry-level jobs ready in under six months—has become the most popular certificate on Coursera during COVID-19.

Grow with Google digital skills training

Providing trusted information

Questions related to the pandemic are more searched than sports or music (and even elections) in every state. 

Top coronavirus related searches in the U.S. this month:

  1. Coronavirus symptoms

  2. Coronavirus update

  3. Coronavirus vaccine

Across the U.S. people are searching on Google to stay informed and adapt. In 47 states, the top coronavirus-related question during the last six months has been “How many cases of coronavirus in [my state].” Search interest for “online courses” reached an all-time high in April this year, as did searches for “unemployment,”compared to search trends over the last 15 years. 


During this time, we’ve also seen people seek out information to help them navigate their daily lives. For example, since the pandemic began, searches for “curbside pickup” have increased 13-fold compared to this time last year, while searches for “contact tracing” spiked 1,000 percent  in April and then reached an all-time high in May. 


In March, we launched Search Knowledge Panels so when people search for information related to COVID-19, they immediately see local guidance, information about symptoms, prevention and treatments. We’ve committed $250 million in Ad Grants to help government agencies provide critical information related to COVID-19. As of today we’ve served more than 100 million PSAs from local public health agencies, which have been seen by tens of millions of people across the U.S.


We also launched the Journalism Emergency Relief Fund to provide emergency funding for small and medium sized news organizations covering the pandemic. To date, we’ve distributed $9 million to U.S. newsrooms across all 50 states. 

Helping people make safe choices 

To help people make informed decisions about where to go, the COVID layer in Google Maps shows critical information about new cases in an area and how they’re trending. As of this month, our COVID-19 Community Mobility Reports, which are used by public health agencies and researchers around the globe, have been downloaded more than 16 million times. 

In May, we partnered with Apple to launch the Exposure Notifications System (ENS) and made it available to public health authorities around the world in their fight against COVID-19. Designed specifically and carefully to protect users’ privacy while helping public health authorities and governments manage countries’ re-opening, today 13 states and U.S. territories have built apps based on this ENS technology.

In a short time, COVID-19 has changed how people live their lives. We’ll continue to update our products and roll out initiatives to help people and American businesses find trusted information, adapt and manage economic uncertainty.  

Source: Google LatLong


Alphabet issues sustainability bonds to support environmental and social initiatives

For more than 20 years, Google's products have improved the lives of people all over the world. Operating our business in an environmentally and socially responsible way has been a core value since our founding in 1998. Google has been carbon neutral since 2007 and we’ve matched our entire electricity consumption with renewables for the past three years. We continue to make major investments in affordable housing and have made a number of significant commitments to promote racial equity

Today, as part of a $10 billion debt offering, we have issued $5.75 billion in sustainability bonds, the largest sustainability or green bond by any company in history. Although a number of companies have issued green bonds (directed solely to environmental uses), sustainability bonds differ in that their proceeds support investment in both environmental and social initiatives. Such bonds are an emerging asset class and we hope this transaction will help develop this new market. We’re encouraged that there was such strong demand for these bonds from investors—they were significantly oversubscribed.


The proceeds from these sustainability bonds will fund ongoing and new projects that are environmentally or socially responsible and enable investors to join us in tackling critical issues. We believe that these investments benefit our communities, employees and stakeholders, and are an important part of fulfilling Google’s  mission and goal of creating value over the long term. 


Consistent with the Green Bond Principles and the Social Bond Principles, eligible projects for use of proceeds are within the following eight areas that build on significant investments we have previously made and will not be allocated to any Google.org activities.

Energy efficiency

For more than a decade, we’ve worked to make Google data centers some of the most efficient in the world by optimizing our use of energy, water, and materials. Today, on average, a Google data center is twice as energy efficient as a typical enterprise data center. Compared with five years ago, we now deliver around seven times as much computing power with the same amount of electricity.  

Clean energy

Combating climate change requires transitioning to a clean energy economy. To date, we have committed approximately $4 billion to purchase clean energy from more than 50 wind and solar projects globally through 2034. Next, we are focused on our longer term vision to source carbon-free energy for our operations 24 hours a day, seven days a week; this means matching our energy consumption with clean energy for each of our data centers around the world on an hour-by-hour basis.

Green buildings

Since the beginning, we've focused on the impact of our workplaces: from how we build our offices to preventing food waste in our cafes. Today, more than 13 million square feet of Google offices are LEED certified.

Clean transportation 

We’re working to mitigate carbon emissions and take cars off the road by promoting the use of EVs and bicycles. By using Google shuttles in the Bay Area, we saved 40,000+ metric tons of CO2 emissions—equivalent to taking 8,760 cars off the road every work day. 

Circular economy and design

We are committed to maximizing the reuse of finite resources across our operations, products, and supply chains and to enable others to do the same. To date, we’ve shipped millions of devices made with post-consumer recycled plastic and 100% of Nest products launched in 2019 include recycled plastics.

Affordable housing

We strive to be a good neighbor in the places we call home. To address the lack of affordable housing in the Bay Area, we made a $1 billion commitment to invest in housing and expect to help build 20,000 residential units, of which at least 5,000 will be affordable. 

Commitment to racial equity 

Because racial equity is inextricably linked to economic opportunity, we will continue to support Black businesses. Recent efforts include a $175+ million economic opportunity initiative, including financing for small businesses in Black communities, and a $100 million YouTube fund to amplify the voices of Black creators and artists.

Support for small business and COVID-19 response

COVID-19 has taken a devastating toll on many businesses. To help we made an $800+ million commitment to small- and medium-sized businesses, health organizations, governments, and health workers on the frontlines. We’ve also partnered with Opportunity Finance Network (OFN) to provide low-interest loans to community development financial institutions, who in turn provide loans to small businesses in underserved communities in the U.S., and are working with the American Library Association to create entrepreneurship centers across the U.S. 

Our Sustainability Bond Framework will guide our investments. To ensure transparency and alignment with the framework, we'll report back annually on which projects have been funded from the bonds' proceeds and their expected impact.

This is the next chapter in our commitment to a more sustainable future for everyone. 

Helping small businesses get access to capital

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been actively working on ways to support communities and small businesses in the United States and around the world. In March, we announced the $125 million Grow with Google Small Business Fund as one way to offer support. Through a partnership with Opportunity Finance Network (OFN), the fund provides low-interest loans to community development financial institutions (CDFI), who in turn provide loans to small businesses in underserved communities in the U.S. Google.org also made a $5 million grant to OFN to further support CDFIs as they grow their capital and build their capacity during this time of crisis. 

Earlier today, as part of our effort to support the Black community, our CEO Sundar Pichai announced that we are expanding the program by adding $45 million in loans to the fund and $5 million in Google.org grants to OFN, with a specific focus on Black communities. This brings Google’s total support for CDFIs and the small businesses they serve to $170 million in loans and $10 million in Google.org grants.

Today we’re announcing the first five CDFIs, which will receive a total of $15.5 million in financing from OFN. They will provide loans to small businesses to help them make rent, pay their employees and continue to serve their customers. This financing will enable OFN’s member CDFIs to improve access to capital for some of the most underserved small businesses: those owned by women and minorities. In addition, six CDFIs will each receive a $125,000 from OFN, made from the grant funds provided by Google.org.

Here are the CDFIs which will receive the first round of funding.

  • Grameen America ($5 million loan, $125,000 grant): With 23 branches across 15 cities, Grameen America focuses exclusively on providing loans to U.S. microenterprises owned by low-income women.

  • MoFi ($3 million loan): By providing financing and consulting, MoFi reaches small business owners across Montana, Idaho and Wyoming. 

  • Opportunity Fund($5 million loan, $125,000 grant): Based in California, Opportunity Fund provides loans to small businesses throughout the U.S., focusing on minority-, women- and immigrant-owned businesses.

  • PeopleFund ($1.5 million loan, $125,000 grant): Operating across Texas, PeopleFund provides small-business loans, as well as business assistance and education, to people with otherwise limited access to such resources. 

  • Citizens Potawatomi Community Development Corporation (CPCDC)($1 million loan, $125,000 grant): One of the largest Native-owned CDFIs in the nation, CPCDC provides financial education, access to capital, business development services and community development initiatives to the Citizen Potawatomi National Tribal Community and other underserved Native populations. 

  • Pacific Community Ventures (PCV) ($125,000 grant): Based in California and supporting small businesses throughout the U.S., PCV’s integrated model provides diverse small businesses with affordable capital, free mentoring, impact evaluation and research.

  • Washington Area Community Investment Fund (Wacif) ($125,000 grant): Wacif increases equity and economic opportunity in underserved communities by investing in low- and moderate-income entrepreneurs with a focus on minority- and women-owned businesses in financially underserved communities east of the Anacostia River in Washington, D.C. and in Prince George’s County, Maryland.

Although most CDFIs are not household names, they play a vital role for small businesses throughout the U.S., many of whom are overlooked by traditional lenders. According to OFN’s 2018 Member Survey, their over 300 member CDFIs serve 58 percent people of color, 85 percent people with low incomes, 26 percent people who live in rural areas, and 48 percent women. 

Since announcing the Grow with Google Small Business Fund, we’ve worked hand-in-hand with OFN to create a holistic program that includes low-interest loans, funding for cash grants, Ad Grants and digital skills training through Grow with Google, our economic opportunity initiative. Over the next year, Google and OFN will continue to work together to underwrite and fund loans to additional CDFIs, which will then lend to thousands of small businesses. Through this partnership and program, we hope we can do our part to make sure small businesses remain the heart of the U.S. economy.

Making an impact in Canada

Aamir Baig was an entrepreneur with a big idea—to build a company that reimagines how customers furnish their homes and workplaces. With Fraser Hall and brothers Sam and Andy Prochazka, Baig co-founded the furniture retailerArticle. They then turned to digital advertising services to find new customers across Canada and the U.S. and drive growth. Thanks to digital technologies, the Vancouver-based company has built a rapidly expanding business in just six years, and is now Canada’s fastest growing company according to Canadian Business.

Google has helped Canadian enterprises of all sizes to unlock the prosperity of the internet. According to new research from Public First, last year Google’s search and advertising products helped generate an estimated $23 billion CAD in annual economic activity for more than 500,000 businesses in Canada—a total impact equivalent to approximately 1.1 percent of Canada’s entire GDP. 

Why digital matters for Canada

The transition to digital reflects incredible momentum for Canadian businesses leveraging data and online technologies. Canada’s digital economy generates some $100 billion CAD in annual revenues, more than the forestry, mining and gas industries combined. The internet addresses many of the traditional economic challenges that a country of Canada’s vast size once faced—a population the size of California, spread over a land mass roughly the size of Russia. The open web helps solve for distance and lack of population density, and allows any size company or individual creator in Canada to become a global business and reach customers across the planet. Google’s products alone support $1.7 billion CAD annually in incremental exports for Canadian businesses. And 160,000 Canadian YouTube creators see 90 percent of their views come from outside Canada’s borders. 

Sustaining this kind of economic growth hinges on building a smart and adaptable workforce. Canada’s investments in first-rate education and technological research--spearheaded by facilities like MILA in Montreal and Toronto’s Vector Institute-coupled with its consistent welcoming of global talent, reflect a commitment to a labor force designed to seize the opportunities of the digital economy.

Growing Google in Canada

Google began its business in Canada in 2001, when our office in Toronto was opened with one salesperson. Nineteen years later, we employ more than 1,500 people—including engineers, sales leaders and AI researchers—across three offices in Waterloo, Toronto and Montreal.

Today we’re pleased to announce that we’re expanding our presence in Canada and building three new offices, one in each of these cities. By 2022, these offices will accommodate up to 5,000 employees. 

Investing in Canada’s future workforce

Our investment in Canada extends beyond our facilities—we also aim to support the communities in which we live and work. Just in the last five years Google has invested $17 million CAD in Canadian nonprofits, specifically to help Canadians learn essential digital skills training with programs like the Google IT Support Professional Certificate program

Programs like these have helped people like Jean Claude Kamov transform Canada. Jean Claude was a refugee from the Congo who moved to Canada to escape violence and build a better life for his family. He always dreamed of a career in technology, but the cost of training held him back. Jean Claude heard about our program, which offers people with no previous tech experience the training to become certified in IT support. He applied at the Edmonton Public Library and became the first graduate to be hired into a new high tech career. 

Stories like Jean Claude’s are why we’re continuing to invest in skills training programs. Today Google.org is announcing an additional $2.5 million grant for NPower Canada, a charitable organization that launches underserved young adults into meaningful and sustainable careers. 

Helping Canadians benefit from digital opportunities

Google is pleased to play a part in Canada’s ongoing digital transformation. We’re helping Canadian businesses grow, we’re investing directly in programs to support Canadians learning new skills and we’re expanding our offices to accommodate for long-term growth. When Google looks to Canada, we see the potential of technology to drive business and change lives. We’re committed to helping Canadians deliver on that potential.