Today we are launching an initiative spotlighting hundreds of European entrepreneurs like Tricia who have used Google products as a growth engine for their businesses. We’re also announcing that Google will train 1 million Europeans to learn crucial digital skills by 2016. Not long ago, small businesses could only afford to source and sell locally. Global marketing and distribution were out of reach for all but the biggest. Today, any business can reach a global market using the Internet, allowing even the smallest businesses to be a multinational.
If you have a product or service, Google AdWords can connect your business with potential customers. Take Berto Salotti, a furniture-maker who has shared his story as part of our project. In 2002, after 30 years of production, Berto had six employees based in Meda, Italy, where they sold most of their furniture. Today, after marketing online through Adwords, they’ve quadrupled in both size and revenue and have customers worldwide.
Eumelia is an ecotourism farm and guesthouse based in rural Greece that uses Google tools to reach out to prospective visitors as far away as Japan and Australia. The company’s founder, Frangiskos, said AdWords is “the best way for a small, local business to have global impact.” And Dutch office supply company DiscountOffice said Adwords "levels the playing field", allowing them "to compete with big multinationals from the beginning.”
But it’s not just online marketing through AdWords that helps businesses grow; YouTube has helped European creators and entrepreneurs attract fans and customers using the power of video. Marie Lopez is like many 19-year-old Parisians. She loves fashion, design and makeup. But what makes Marie different is that she has more than one million people around the world who subscribe to her YouTube channel, EnjoyPhoenix. Having amassed over 120 million views, Marie is now developing her own line of products and working with top brands like L’Oreal. Today, thousands of YouTube channels are making six figures annually and total revenue amongst our YouTubers has grown by 50 percent in each of the last two years.
Google Play is also a huge growth engine for European developers, connecting them to a booming global app economy. Launched in Spain, WePlan is a free Android app that looks at how people use their phones, and recommends the best carriers for their needs. Today it has more than 100,000 users in 24 countries. And WePlan has gone from five to 18 employees in just two years. Last year, Google paid out more than €4.4 billion to developers like WePlan.
We are excited that businesses all around Europe are using the technology we provide as an engine for their growth. To see more of these stories, check out this video:
It’s clear that the opportunities for businesses in the digital age are immense--there are many more ways to reach customers than anyone could have imagined not that long ago. But, for Europe to reach its full potential, we need to clear the way for companies online. We need a single market in the digital world that reflects the single market we enjoy in the physical world already. With over two dozen regulatory and frameworks to contend with, businesses stumble when they seek to sell, grow or hire across borders. The European Commission has rightly identified the digital single market as one of Europe’s top priorities.
Of course, the opportunities afforded by the digital economy are still limited if people don’t have the right skills. At current rates, the EU predicts a shortfall of 900,000 jobs by 2020 due to a lack of digital skills, and there are many businesses that want to get online but don’t know where to start. At Google we’re playing our part. Over the last year we have have helped tens of thousands of German entrepreneurs export through partnerships with DHL, PayPal and Commerzbank. We have trained tens of thousands of young, unemployed people in Spain with free courses on subjects like web development, digital marketing, and ecommerce. And, we have shown thousands of traditional Italian craftspeople how to sell and market their wares online.
But we want to do more. So, today we’ve announced that Google will train 1 million Europeans in crucial digital skills by 2016. We will invest an additional €25M to broaden our current programs and take them to new markets across Europe to train more small businesses on the digital skills they so need. We’ll build a Europe-wide training hub to support businesses anywhere in Europe to get training online.
Some people look at the state of the economy in Europe and are pessimistic. We see something else: a huge diversity of businesses and entrepreneurs with creativity, ambition, and talent -- all using digital tools to create jobs and boost the economy.