From Paris to Berlin: Getting Europe Growing, Digitally

For us, this year has been all about getting Europe trained up in terms of digital skills. The follow-on from that is creating growth when European companies go global. We've been partnering with Politico to host a series of events across the continent exploring the roadmap for Europe's digital growth. Earlier this month we were in Paris, and last week we took the debate to Berlin, where guests included MEP Eva Paunova, Bundestag member Thomas Jarzombek and Poland's Undersecretary of State for Digital Affairs Jurand Drop.

Alwin Mahler from Google Germany kicked us off with exciting research Deloitte did on the German economy. Businesses using Google services generated up to EUR 30 billion in revenue, and support up to 500,000 jobs - in Germany alone. These aren't just the big names either -- Google has helped the small and midsize firms which make up the Mittelstand, the backbone of the German economy, expand into new markets worldwide.

"Let’s use the famous example of Lederhosen,” Alwin explained -- living near Munich, he knows all about the famous leather shorts. Until recently, many producers would only sell to people from their physical store in the Bavarian region. "Today they can advertise for this product in regions as far as Asia or Australia. Because Asians and Australians like “Lederhosen”, even if they only visit “Oktoberfest” once a year!" Given we hosted the event in the Kulturbrauerei, cheers to that!

It's not just Germany. Another 439,000 jobs in Europe are directly associated with the development of apps, which we support via Android. And that's a global market for European start-ups. A running app developed in Austria, Runtastic, has proven a huge hit in markets as distant as Brazil and China.

Then there's “Weltweit Wachsen,” roughly translated as "Growing Worldwide." This export initiative run by Google in partnership with DHL, PayPal and Commerzbank has already helped tens of thousands of German entrepreneurs to expand their horizons.
MEP Eva Paunova in conversation with Politico's Noelle Knox
Back to the European policy agenda. Ms. Paunova said there's a need for legislation to speed up, generally, starting with new legislation to end geoblocking. "For the past year and a half we’ve been saying what we want to see, but still no legislative documents have been passed on the topic,” the member of the Parliament's Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection told the audience.

We heard a lot of interesting things and people went home optimistically. As did Alwin Mahler, who said, "literally any European business can reach a global market using the Internet, even allowing a solo entrepreneur to become a multinational company."

Posted by: Mark Jansen, Corporate Communications Google Brussels