Google and Spark are launching a tailored programme of digital skills training designed especially for New Zealand small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The programme is fully virtual and will run through November initially, with future dates to be announced. It aims to support those small businesses that see a clear need to digitise if they are to operate more productively and continue to thrive, but either don’t know where to start or simply want some extra support along the way.
Hosted through Spark Lab, the programme will initially be available to Spark customers only, but the intention is to open it up more widely over time. It has been designed based on a survey of Spark SME customers in October – which showed that while there is appetite for digital upskilling by Kiwi SMEs, knowing where to start can sometimes be the first hurdle. Full details may be found at sparklab.co.nz and business owners will learn about various strategies and Google tools to help their businesses be found and stand out online. The goal is that this digital skills training will further safeguard Kiwi businesses against the effects of COVID-19 by helping them be more productive in an uncertain economy.
Kate Jarrett, owner of Loxy’s Salons in Auckland has participated in similar Google digital skills workshops and said, “The tools I learnt through the Google digital skills workshop were invaluable to my business both pre and post Covid. I was amazed to learn that these tools and insights were available to me and so many of them at no cost too. I wondered how I’d fumbled my way through business up until then, and thought of how different things may have been for me had I utilized these tools much earlier in my business journey. In the constantly evolving and often uncertain world of business, I feel at ease knowing I have these Google tools at my disposal to pivot quickly and stay one step ahead.”
Spark Marketing Director Matt Bain said, “In the past year, we have seen a massive shift by consumers from physical to digital channels. This is a big opportunity for many of our SMEs to use what are often cheaper and more effective channels to reach their customers. Spark wants to support them to grab this opportunity. It’s fantastic to have a like-minded partner in Google, who will work alongside us to help remove some of the barriers Kiwi SMEs face when it comes to reaching and serving their customers.”
Google New Zealand Country Director, Caro Rainsford said “As long time partners, Spark and Google share a common goal of assisting all Kiwis with digital growth and supporting economic recovery. I’m so pleased that at a time where economic recovery is at the forefront of business strategy, we’re able to reach a broad group of SMEs across New Zealand and continue to share the knowledge, expertise and opportunity afforded through Google’s tools for businesses.”
The program will be run by a team of Google Digital Strategists and focus on three main areas:
Getting your business online: Insights show many small businesses aren’t aware of the free marketing tools available to them through Google My Business, so this will be about maximising a Business Profile on Google.
Reaching new customers online: With New Zealand’s economy under increasing pressure, we know that small businesses are being impacted. This module will be about connecting with customers in moments that matter.
Protect your online presence: When growing a digital presence it's also important to secure and safeguard your business by staying safe online. Protect your website and learn best practices for online safety.
Spark business customers can opt in to the most relevant workshops for their business and find out more information at sparklab.co.nz.