The past two years have not been easy for business. However, through the disruption small businesses have been the heroes of our communities in many ways, from providing essential goods and services to being part of the community response.
Take Casa Botín in Madrid, the oldest restaurant in the world. While much has changed in the 300 years it’s been in operation, with many challenges along the way, manager Antonio Gonzalez and his family's passion for the restaurant and its customers has remained constant. Throughout the pandemic, they kept Casa Botín afloat using a range of digital tools, from maintaining their Business Profile and keeping customers informed about opening hours and services, to using Google Meet to keep in touch with staff.
Casa Botín is just one of many much-loved Spanish family businesses – 72% of Spanish people say that small businesses are important to their local communities.
Technology has played a pivotal role in helping businesses adapt and thrive. Digital tools helped businesses find new audiences, enter new markets and build brand awareness. Antonio Gonzalez credits digital tools for helping keep Casa Botin afloat during the pandemic — and he’s not alone.
A report by the Connected Commerce Council released last year shows small businesses across Europe that switched to using digital tools during the pandemic reported 80% better sales than those that didn’t, and hired three times as many people.
Making it even easier for businesses and people to connect is at the heart of what we do. This is why we’re marking International Small Business Week in Germany, Spain and Ireland, after three successful years in the U.S. and Canada. This International Small Business Week, we recognize the heroes of our communities with a few new ways to support them.
We’ll be providing a series of free-of-charge training programs to small and medium businesses across Europe, helping them build the skills and confidence to succeed online. Research has found 22% of small business owners feel they lack the skills and knowledge to increase their use of digital tools.
In Spain, we’re working with Fundae to offer Google Career Certificate scholarships to 1,000 small and medium businesses to fuel opportunities for their business, and create new opportunities for their workforce. In Germany, we’re launching eight new free-of-charge online trainings in Google Zukunftswerkstatt to help small businesses improve their digital skills and grow online.
We also want to help these businesses operate more efficiently, reach new customers and stay in touch with existing ones. For small businesses based in Germany, Spain or Ireland until September 16, our support will include:
- Three months of Google Workspace free of charge
- €150 or more off a Chromebook
- 60 days of Shopify free of charge
In Germany, 40% off a domain from Google Domains is also available.
Helping you recognize your own small business heroes
In Spain, we are introducing the Heroes of Small Business sweepstakes. People will have until September 19 to nominate their favorite Spain-based small business for a chance to receive help to grow their business. Get started in g.co/pymes/semana.
All businesses in Europe can easily claim and verify their Business Profile directly on Google Search or the Google Maps app, and respond to messages directly from Search. Business Profiles can also help people find their local businesses and support them by posting positive reviews.
According to the European Commission, 99% of all businesses in the EU are small businesses, and they employ around 100 million people, forming the backbone of our economies. We hope you'll join us for International Small Business Week as we celebrate their resilience and growth across Germany, Spain and Ireland.