Tag Archives: grow with google

Supporting Asian-owned businesses in your community

When I was 5, our family moved from New York City to the countryside outside of the city. My brother and I were the only kids of Asian descent in our elementary school. Our father was born in Yamaguchi, Japan to a Japanese mother and American father, and I always felt proud of that — but in this new environment, I instantly felt different.

These early experiences showed me just how important it is to show up for and with communities. Over the past two years, COVID-related small business closures and targeted acts of violence have reinforced the importance and impact of allyship — and have underscored how critical it is to support historically marginalized communities, including our Asian community. That’s why we’re announcing a new way to help Asian-owned businesses thrive.

Celebrating Asian-owned businesses

Starting today, US businesses can now add the Asian-owned attribute to their Business Profile on Search and Maps. In the coming weeks, ad-supported publishers will be able to identify as Asian-owned in Display & Video 360’s Marketplace, too.

A screenshot of East West Shop on Google Maps, showcasing the business identifies as Asian-owned, LGBTQ+ Friendly, and women-owned.

Businesses can opt in to adopt the attribute on their Business Profile and can easily opt out at any time. Once the attribute appears on a Business Profile, users will also be able to see the attribute. This update builds on the Black-owned, Latino-owned, veteran-owned, women-owned andLGBTQ+ owned business attributes, and is another way people can support a diversity of businesses across Google’s products and platforms.

As we were building this feature, we worked with hundreds of Asian-owned businesses to ensure the attribute celebrates our diverse and unique cultures. During that process, I was particularly struck by what Dennys Han, owner of East West Shop, shared with us about the power of community: “If someone is trying to accomplish something, the entire local Korean community will band together to help it come together. The idea of the community and group as a whole uplifting each other is fundamental to what we do.”

Building up Asian-owned businesses’ digital skills

Over the past few years, Grow with Google has partnered with the US Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce (USPAACC) to help Asian-owned small businesses grow. To date, we’ve helped more than 20,000 Asian-owned businesses expand their digital skills through workshops focusing on topics like e-commerce tools, design thinking for entrepreneurs and making decisions using analytics.

Today, we’re building upon that partnership. Together, USPAACC and Grow with Google will help an additional 10,000 Asian-owned small businesses gain digital skills to help them grow their businesses. And as the internet continues to grow in importance for shopping, nearly one quarter of Asian-owned business owners said their most important channel towards building community and financial support was across social media and online.

It’s our hope the Asian-owned attribute brings people together and provides our communities with much-needed recognition: to help them be seen and thrive. We are excited to spotlight Asian-owned businesses and highlight part of what makes our community unique and important.

A collage of 6 Asian-owned businesses, 3 on the top and 3 on the bottom with the Asian-owned attribute icon in the middle, a circular design with a red and yellow intertwining flower at its’ core. The top row of 3 (from left to right) include: pottery cups and plates on a table with Tortoise General Store owner holding 2 small dishes in the background, Good Hause Marketing Agency Business owner working, holding a marketing design poster board, and 3 t-shirts (black, pink, and white) hanging in East / West Shop. The bottom row of 3 (from left to right) include: the owner of Bollypop in red traditional dress from India twirling, the storefront of Jitlada restaurant, and the owner of Peru Films facing towards the right, looking down, and crossing his arms.

Top left to right:

Tortoise General Store, Owned by Taku and Keiko Shinomoto

Good Hause, Owned by Brittany Tran

East / West Shop, Owned by Dennys Han

Bottom left to right:

Bollypop, Owned by Aakansha Maheshwari

Jitlada, Owned by Sugar Sungkamee

Peru Films, Owned by Tanmay Chowdhary

Source: Google LatLong


Introducing the first 50 recipients of the Latino Founders Fund

Ver abajo versión en español

Since joining Google almost twelve years ago, it’s been a personal mission of mine to seek new ways for Google to provide access and opportunity to the Latino community. Most recently I've been focused on how we can provide this to the Latino startup community, where gaining access to funding — the necessary fuel to grow their companies – is a constant struggle. Latino-led businesses are the fastest-growing segment of U.S. small businesses, but as an aggregate they only receive 2% of total U.S. venture capital funding, despite comprising 20% of the U.S. population.

This disparity is why we committed $7 million last year to help Latino founders grow their businesses and support the organizations already nurturing communities of Latino-led startups. We allocated $5 million of that funding to our inaugural Google for Startups Latino Founders Fund, and today at the UnidosUS Annual Conference in San Antonio, we revealed the 50 Latino founders who will each receive $100,000 in cash awards. They’ll also receive hands-on support and mentorship from Googlers across the company, $100,000 in Google Cloud credits, and access to therapy sessions to use as needed for any support they may need emotionally and professionally.

These Latino Founders Fund recipients have created amazing businesses that are already making a significant impact. They are helping solve some of the country’s biggest problems, from providing accessible, personalized reproductive health support to helping college graduates get out of debt and creating a more equitable legal system for Americans. Meet some of the recipients below, and read the full list of this year’s awardees here.

We know having a robust network of support is critical to Latino founders’ success. That’s why we committed $1 million to supporting organizations that are dedicated to growing the Latino startup community. In the past few months, we connected founders across North and Latin America through our partnership with eMerge Americas. We teamed up with Visible Hands to launch VHLX, a new program to support Latino entrepreneurs at the earliest stages of their process; those founders received $10,000 in cash stipends from Google to help kickstart their ideas. And we recently wrapped our first Latinx Leaders Summit with Inicio Ventures, and will host a series of pitch competitions for aspiring entrepreneurs later this year.

We’ve seen firsthand what happens when we support underrepresented founders with funding and community. For example, over the past two years, Google for Startups has provided $10 million in cash awards to 126 Black founders in the U.S. through our global Black Founders Fund. I’ve had the privilege of working directly with these incredible founders, who have collectively gone on to raise over $75 million in follow-on funding. In addition to follow-on funding, many report that the fund allowed them to attract customers and hire new teammates.

I hope this funding and support will not only catalyze the growth of these 50 Latino-led startups, but also inspire other Latinos entrepreneurs to dream, create and innovate to showcase the talent of our community and change the course for their families and communities in the process.

Presentamos a los primeros 50 beneficiarios del Fondo de Fundadores Latinos

Desde que me uní a Google hace casi doce años, mi misión personal ha sido buscar nuevas formas para que Google brinde acceso y oportunidades a la comunidad latina. Más recientemente, me he centrado en cómo podemos proporcionar esto a la comunidad latina de empresas emergentes, donde obtener acceso a la financiación, el combustible necesario para hacer crecer sus empresas, es una lucha constante. Las empresas lideradas por latinos son el segmento de más rápido crecimiento de las pequeñas empresas de Estados Unidos, pero en conjunto solo reciben el 2 % del financiamiento total de capital de riesgo en Estados Unidos, a pesar de que representan el 20 % de la población del país.

Esta disparidad es la razón por la cual comprometimos $7 millones el año pasado para ayudar a los fundadores latinos a hacer crecer sus negocios y apoyar a las organizaciones que ya nutren comunidades de empresas emergentes dirigidas por latinos. Asignamos $5 millones de esa financiación a nuestro Fondo inaugural de Fundadores Latinos de Google for Startups y hoy en la Conferencia Anual de UnidosUS en San Antonio, anunciamos los 50 fundadores latinos que recibirán cada uno $100,000 en efectivo. También recibirán apoyo práctico y tutoría de Googlers (empleados de Google) en toda la empresa, $100,000 en créditos de Google Cloud y acceso a sesiones de terapia para usar según sea necesario para cualquier apoyo que puedan necesitar emocional y profesionalmente.

Estos beneficiarios del Fondo de Fundadores Latinos han creado negocios increíbles que ya están teniendo un impacto significativo. Están ayudando a resolver algunos de los problemas más grandes del país, desde brindar salud reproductiva accesible y personalizada, ayudar a los graduados universitarios a salir de deudas y crear un sistema legal más equitativo para los estadounidenses. Lee la lista completa de los galardonados de este año aquí.

Sabemos que tener una sólida red de apoyo es fundamental para el éxito de los fundadores latinos. Es por eso que comprometimos $1 millón para apoyar a organizaciones que se dedican a hacer crecer la comunidad latina de empresas emergentes. En los últimos meses, conectamos a fundadores de América del Norte y América Latina a través de nuestra asociación con eMerge Americas. Nos asociamos con Visible Hands para lanzar VHLX, un nuevo programa para apoyar a los empresarios latinos en las primeras etapas de su proceso; esos fundadores recibieron $10,000 en estipendios en efectivo de Google para ayudarlos a poner en marcha sus ideas. Y recientemente finalizamos nuestra primera Cumbre de Líderes Latinx con Inicio Ventures, y organizaremos una serie de concursos de lanzamiento para aspirantes a empresarios a finales de este año.

Hemos visto de primera mano lo que sucede cuando apoyamos a los fundadores subrepresentados con fondos y comunidad. Por ejemplo, en los últimos dos años, Google for Startups ha otorgado $10 millones en premios en efectivo a 126 fundadores afroamericanos en los Estados Unidos a través de nuestro Black Founders Fund. He tenido el privilegio de trabajar directamente con estos increíbles fundadores, quienes colectivamente recaudaron más de $75 millones en fondos de seguimiento. Además de la financiación de seguimiento, muchos informan que el fondo les permitió atraer clientes y contratar nuevos compañeros de equipo.

Espero que este financiamiento y apoyo no solo catalice el crecimiento de estas 50 nuevas empresas lideradas por latinos, sino que también inspire a otros empresarios latinos a soñar, crear e innovar para mostrar el talento de nuestra comunidad y cambiar el rumbo de sus familias y comunidades en el proceso.

Our commitment to Asia Pacific’s small businesses

Technology can help businesses grow — but only if the people who lead and work for those businesses have the right skills. Today, on Micro-, Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) Day, we’re reaffirming our commitment to Asia Pacific’s small businesses — and putting education and training at the center of our efforts to help them succeed and grow.

Since 2015, we’ve trained 8.5 million MSMEs across the region through our Grow with Google programs and partnerships. We stepped up these efforts when the global pandemic hit, and we’ve seen the impact of working more closely with governments and other businesses to close skills gaps and create opportunities. Our Saphan Digital program in Thailand has trained over 100,000 small businesses, while the Accelerate Vietnam Digital 4.0 initiative has trained 650,000 people. But we recognize there’s much more work ahead to ensure that MSMEs are prepared for longer-term economic and technological change.

Video presenting the story of Indonesian entrepreneur Ibu Ida and how taking her food business online helped her grow sales.
10:25

Over the next year and beyond, we’ll be deepening our existing programs to support small businesses and launching new ones — like Expand with Google in Japan, focusing on helping MSMEs build their capabilities in digital advertising and e-commerce. We’ll also be helping MSMEs find the skilled people they need by expanding access to Google Career Certificates, which develop in-demand skills like IT support, data analytics and user experience design. In partnership with learning institutions and nonprofits, we’re providing free scholarships for certificates in India, Indonesia and Singapore, and we’ll be offering the same opportunity in more countries soon — we’ve committed to providing over 250,000 scholarships across Asia Pacific in 2022.

Video presenting Yesha’s story from deciding to change her career and taking a Google Career Certificate course to finding a job soon after graduation.
10:25

To ensure that opportunities to learn new skills are equitable, we’ll continue to support nonprofits across the region. Since 2019, through our Google.org philanthropic arm, we’ve contributed over $11 million in grants that support underserved MSMEs. We have provided grant funding to Youth Business International to reach more than 180,000 entrepreneurs through its Rapid Response and Recovery Program and to The Asia Foundation working with its partners to train more than 225,000 people through the Go Digital ASEAN initiative, endorsed by the ASEAN Coordinating Committee on MSMEs.

Helping MSMEs in underserved parts of the region will continue to be a major priority — including $4 million in Google.org support for The Asia Foundation, which will expand Go Digital ASEAN with new training programs including green skills, cybersecurity and financial planning.

Video about three young entrepreneurs who received help from YBI's Rapid Response and Recovery Programme and sustained their business through the pandemic
10:25

Finally, we’ll keep playing our part to foster the next generation of businesses in Asia, through our Google for Startups programs, initiatives like the Women Founders Academy, and partnerships with governments like the ChangGoo program in Korea — which has helped 200 startups and created over 1,100 new jobs. Our developer programs — such as the Appscale Academy in India, a partnership with the MeitY Startup Hub — will continue to help app-makers (like health-technology startup Stamurai) grow globally.

Video presenting the story of Seojung Chang who, after attending a Google for Startups program, raised capital and achieved growth for her startup Jaranda in Korea.
10:25

Whether Asia Pacific’s entrepreneurs are long-established, or just starting out, we’re ready to help them adapt to change and thrive in the digital economy. And we look forward to celebrating their success.

Our commitment to Asia Pacific’s small businesses

Technology can help businesses grow — but only if the people who lead and work for those businesses have the right skills. Today, on Micro-, Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) Day, we’re reaffirming our commitment to Asia Pacific’s small businesses — and putting education and training at the center of our efforts to help them succeed and grow.

Since 2015, we’ve trained 8.5 million MSMEs across the region through our Grow with Google programs and partnerships. We stepped up these efforts when the global pandemic hit, and we’ve seen the impact of working more closely with governments and other businesses to close skills gaps and create opportunities. Our Saphan Digital program in Thailand has trained over 100,000 small businesses, while the Accelerate Vietnam Digital 4.0 initiative has trained 650,000 people. But we recognize there’s much more work ahead to ensure that MSMEs are prepared for longer-term economic and technological change.

Video presenting the story of Indonesian entrepreneur Ibu Ida and how taking her food business online helped her grow sales.
10:25

Over the next year and beyond, we’ll be deepening our existing programs to support small businesses and launching new ones — like Expand with Google in Japan, focusing on helping MSMEs build their capabilities in digital advertising and e-commerce. We’ll also be helping MSMEs find the skilled people they need by expanding access to Google Career Certificates, which develop in-demand skills like IT support, data analytics and user experience design. In partnership with learning institutions and nonprofits, we’re providing free scholarships for certificates in India, Indonesia and Singapore, and we’ll be offering the same opportunity in more countries soon — we’ve committed to providing over 250,000 scholarships across Asia Pacific in 2022.

Video presenting Yesha’s story from deciding to change her career and taking a Google Career Certificate course to finding a job soon after graduation.
10:25

To ensure that opportunities to learn new skills are equitable, we’ll continue to support nonprofits across the region. Since 2019, through our Google.org philanthropic arm, we’ve contributed over $11 million in grants that support underserved MSMEs. We have provided grant funding to Youth Business International to reach more than 180,000 entrepreneurs through its Rapid Response and Recovery Program and to The Asia Foundation working with its partners to train more than 225,000 people through the Go Digital ASEAN initiative, endorsed by the ASEAN Coordinating Committee on MSMEs.

Helping MSMEs in underserved parts of the region will continue to be a major priority — including $4 million in Google.org support for The Asia Foundation, which will expand Go Digital ASEAN with new training programs including green skills, cybersecurity and financial planning.

Video about three young entrepreneurs who received help from YBI's Rapid Response and Recovery Programme and sustained their business through the pandemic
10:25

Finally, we’ll keep playing our part to foster the next generation of businesses in Asia, through our Google for Startups programs, initiatives like the Women Founders Academy, and partnerships with governments like the ChangGoo program in Korea — which has helped 200 startups and created over 1,100 new jobs. Our developer programs — such as the Appscale Academy in India, a partnership with the MeitY Startup Hub — will continue to help app-makers (like health-technology startup Stamurai) grow globally.

Video presenting the story of Seojung Chang who, after attending a Google for Startups program, raised capital and achieved growth for her startup Jaranda in Korea.
10:25

Whether Asia Pacific’s entrepreneurs are long-established, or just starting out, we’re ready to help them adapt to change and thrive in the digital economy. And we look forward to celebrating their success.

How tech can support transformational growth in Africa

This week, I was privileged to be in Kigali, Rwanda for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (‘CHOGM’) - a forum that brings together government, business leaders and NGOs from around the world to discuss how to improve the lives of the over 2.5 billion people living in the 54 independent countries that make up the Commonwealth.

Africa is facing multiple challenges. While Covid was first and foremost a health crisis, the economic impact continues to be severe for parts of the continent. The war in Ukraine has added further pressure on supply chains and food security. And Africa’s rapid population growth - 60% of the population will be under 24 by 2025 - creates a further pressing need to generate economic opportunity and ensure people and families can earn a living.

Despite the challenges ahead, the mood at CHOGM was optimistic, focusing on the collaboration and solutions that can help Africa’s economic recovery. For me, harnessing technology is key to that.

I grew up in Zimbabwe, then a Commonwealth country, and discovered the possibilities of the world of programming as a highschooler. Since then I’ve always been fascinated by the role technology can play in creating opportunities and helping to solve large-scale societal problems. My position at Google allows me to focus on how technology can benefit society, and I feel fortunate that it’s taken me back to Africa after just five months in the role.

Google first bet on Africa with the investment in Seacom cable in about 2005: I remember hearing about it from my friends at Google at the time. Two years later, Google opened offices on the continent, and has been a partner in Africa’s economic growth and digital transformation ever since - working with local governments, policymakers, educators and entrepreneurs. Our mission in Africa is to unlock the benefits of the digital economy to everyone - providing helpful products, programmes and investments.

Africa’s internet economy has the potential to grow to $180 billion by 2025 - 5.2% of the continent’s GDP - bringing prosperity, opportunity and growth. African governments and businesses must turn that opportunity into a reality: integrating technology into the economy, ensuring no one is left behind, and emerging stronger from the current challenges.

Ensuring affordable internet access

Most crucial to this is affordable internet access - a precondition for digital transformation, but still a barrier today. Across Africa, only 18% of households have an internet connection, and data costs remain a major obstacle. By actively promoting infrastructure investments, including in rural areas, Governments can support people to get online and harness the economic growth and benefits that will come with that.

Google is already working in partnership with African governments to do this. We’ve enabled over 100 million Africans to access the internet for the first time through our affordable Android devices, and plan to invest $1 billion over the next 5 years in projects that will help enable Africa’s digital transformation, including our state-of-the-art Equiano subsea cable.

The cable, which lands in Namibia in the next few weeks, will provide twenty times more network capacity by connecting Africa with Europe. It will run through South Africa, Namibia, Togo, Nigeria and St Helena, enabling internet speeds up to five times faster and lowering connectivity costs by up to 21%, in turn supporting growth and jobs.

Investing in people

Those accessing the internet need to be able to use it and transform their lives leveraging it. Working with tech companies and NGOs to foster digital skills developments, governments can ensure people can participate fully online.

Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, made a commitment in 2017 to train 10 million Africans in digital skills. To date, Google has trained more than 6 million people across Africa through Grow with Google in partnership with local governments, and given $20 million to non-profits helping Africans develop their digital skills. Moreover, Google has committed to certifying 100,000 developers - and so far has certified more than 80,000. Last year, a Google study showed the developer ecosystem in Africa is growing. There are nearly 716,000 professional developers across Africa - of which 21% are women; numbers we hope to contribute to.

Investing in startups

Alongside digital skills, governments need to encourage entrepreneurs and startups - a crucial part of Africa’s economic growth and jobs creation. There has never been a shortage of entrepreneurs in Africa - what is needed are the tools, including technology, and financing to enable them.

Last year, we announced an Africa Investment Fund to support startup growth across Africa. Through the Fund, we invest $50 million in startups like SafeBoda and Carry1st, and provide Google’s people, products and networks to help them build meaningful products for their communities. This is on top of our existing work on the Startups Accelerator Africa, which has provided more than 80 African startups with equity-free finance, working space and expert advisors over the last three years. We also launched a Black Founders Fund in 2021, supporting Black African Founders like Shecluded, a digital financial growth resource and service startup for women.

Using technological innovation to solve systemic challenges

Advances in technology are increasingly enabling solutions to development challenges, and with 300 million more people coming online in Africa over the next five years, the possibilities are endless. Digital finance, for example, can be used to address the barriers preventing nearly a billion African women from banking - while advances in AI have made it possible for Google to Translate more languages, including Luganda - spoken by 20 million people here in Rwanda and in neighboring Uganda.

Technology offers Africa a tremendous opportunity for growth, prosperity and opportunity. I’m hopeful that working in partnership, we can continue to make an impact and build on Africa’s digital revolution.

Connecting UK businesses with tech talent

Since inception, Google has innovated with technology to narrow the opportunity gap that exists in education, access to information, job mobility and more – for people around the world. We believe sustainable economic growth is only possible when there is inclusive growth, so we work to equip people with the skills needed to participate in the digital economy.

Grow with Google, our digital skills training program, has trained 94 million people around the world, and more than 800,000 people in the U.K. From Grow with Google, we launched Google Career Certificates, which provides job seekers with accessible paths to careers in high-growth sectors, including data analytics, IT support, project management, user experience design and digital marketing. Seventy-eight percent of U.K. Certificate graduates report seeing a positive impact on their career within six months, including a raise or a new job.

Today, we are announcing the creation of a UK Employer Consortium – a group of employers, including the BBC, BT Group, Deloitte and John Lewis Partnership, that will consider those who have earned the Certificates for jobs. We know one entity acting alone will never be as effective as many coming together, and we have long been committed to partnering with others. For example, we’ve worked with organizations like the Department for Work and Pensions and The Prince’s Trust to offer 10,000 scholarships to job seekers to help them complete a Certificate, and beginning today we will be making another 10,000 scholarships available.

We believe the Consortium will play an important part, alongside the U.K.’s focus on higher education, in building a digitally skilled workforce and filling the growing number of open technology roles in the country. Almost half of U.K. employers have reported they are struggling to recruit for digital roles, and the Certificate fields have been chosen specifically in response to the high numbers of open positions in those areas.

Ousman, a Certificate graduate, speaks to members of the Employer Consortium at an event at Google.

Ousman, a Certificate graduate, speaks to members of the Employer Consortium

Google is committed to helping employers from across the U.K. meet amazing people like Jelena Stephenson, who I was fortunate to speak with last year when I met some of the first people in the U.K. to take part in our Certificates program. Jelena worked for 15 years as a teacher in Serbia. After her husband was diagnosed with leukemia, they decided to move to London, where she quickly found that despite her strong background in education, she was unable to get a job as a teacher. After receiving a scholarship for the Googler Career Certificate in Project Management, Jelena regained the confidence she had lost while out of work, and found a role as a digital project coordinator.

I have been proud to see first-hand the progression of our program in the U.K. and the impact it has had on people like Jelena. We look forward to further evolving our program as we continue to build the UK Consortium and connect growing businesses with talented jobseekers.

Helping job seekers prepare for interviews

Right now, according to Burning Glass’ Labor Insight, there are over 1.5 million open jobs in the U.S. in fast-growing fields like data analytics, digital marketing & e-commerce, IT support, project management and UX design. We launched Google Career Certificates to help people learn the skills they need to qualify for roles in those fields, helping drive economic opportunity and mobility. Today, more than 70,000 people have earned a certificate and 75% of graduates report positive career impacts within six months of graduating, based on graduate survey responses in the U.S. in 2021.

But just as important as learning the skills to perform a new job, is learning the skills to land that job. This means knowing how to network, apply, build a resume and nail one of the most intimidating parts of a job search: the interview.

Interviewing in a new field can be hard, especially if you don’t have access to friends, family or mentors in the field who can help you practice and prepare. That’s why we’ve been collaborating with job seekers to start building a new tool called Interview Warmup that lets you practice answering questions selected by industry experts, and uses machine learning to transcribe your answers and help you discover ways to improve. Preparing for interviews will always take a lot of work, but we hope this tool can make it a little easier for anyone to become more confident and grow comfortable with interviewing.

On a white background, a waving hand emoji bounces next to text that reads “Hi! Let’s practice a job interview.” The view zooms out to show the interface of the Interview Warmup tool. A white pointer scrolls through six career fields, selects “IT Support” and is prompted to answer an interview question. The tool transcribes the user’s response and analyzes it. The pointer clicks “most-used words,” highlighting words used multiple times. The pointer clicks one of those words to get suggestions about other words to use instead. The backdrop is plain white once more and text reading “Interview Warmup'' bounces on screen.

With Interview Warmup, your answers are transcribed in real time so you can review what you said. You’ll also see insights: patterns detected by machine learning that can help you discover things about your answers, like the job-related terms you use and the words you say most often. It can even highlight the different talking points you cover in each answer, so you can see how much time you spend talking about areas like your experience, skills and goals. Your responses aren’t graded or judged and you can answer questions as many times as you want. It’s your own private space to practice, prepare and get comfortable.

Interview Warmup was designed for Google Career Certificates learners, so it has question sets specific to each of the certificates. But it’s available for everyone to use and has general questions applicable to many fields. Every question has been created by industry experts. We’re sharing the tool in its early stages so we can get feedback from the community, find ways to improve it and expand it to be more helpful to more job seekers, especially as one in four U.S. workers seek opportunities with new employers.

We’re excited about tools like Interview Warmup because they show how new technologies have the potential to help more people practice the skills they need to grow their careers and, as a result, support the development of the U.S. workforce. Alongside training programs like Google Career Certificates, these tools, resources and trainings can help increase economic mobility and make it possible for more people to make the move into fast-growing fields.

Try Interview Warmup now at grow.google/interview-warmup.

Helping people impacted by the justice system

On a visit to Indiana Women’s Prison in 2018, I joined a ceremony for graduates of The Last Mile, an organization preparing people for successful reentry through business and technology training. It was my first time attending a graduation inside, and I listened and was inspired as each graduate shared their determination to succeed in spite of the many challenges they might face after release.

Each year, 640,000 people are released from prison only to be met with an unemployment rate that is five times the national average. This rate is even higher for Black, Latino, and low income individuals, who are disproportionately impacted by mass incarceration. Devastatingly, more than half of those released from US prisons don’t land a job in the first year of returning home, in part because they don't have the necessary digital skills to compete in an ever-changing job market.

Since 2015, Google has supported many aspects of criminal justice reform with over $48 million in grant funding and 50,000 pro-bono hours. But there’s more work to be done. Today, we’re committing more than $8 million in new funding that will support job seekers impacted by the justice system with digital skills training and automatic record clearance.

The Grow with Google Fund for Justice-Impacted Communities will make more than $4 million available for nonprofits to lead Grow with Google workshops and trainings. Using a curriculum co-curated with five justice-reform-focused partners, our goal is to help 100,000 people impacted by the justice system build career skills–ranging from fundamental skills like finding and applying for jobs online, making a resume using web-based tools, or building a professional brand, to more advanced topics like using spreadsheets to budget for a business.

To accelerate jobs access for formerly incarcerated people, Google.org is providing a $3 million grant and a full-time team of Google.org Fellows who will work pro-bono to support Code for America. Code for America works with community organizations and government to build digital tools and services, change policies, and improve programs. Fellows will work alongside Code for America to help transform the process of automatically clearing criminal records; creating a replicable model to better identify and expunge past records through CFA's Clear My Record initiative. Google.org is also granting $1.25 million to the National Urban League and Justice through Code, two organizations focused on providing skills training to formerly incarcerated job seekers beginning their careers in tech.

Three years after The Last Mile graduation I attended, it was an honor to sit down with Molly, a graduate who learned digital skills using Grow with Google’s curriculum. She is now employed as a Returned Citizen Advocate at The Last Mile.

Here’s what Molly had to say about her involvement with the program:

When you started learning digital skills at The Last Mile, where were you at in life?

I had just been released from Indiana Women’s Prison and was on a mission to find a new career. I was applying for multiple jobs while also looking for educational opportunities that would help build my skills and knowledge.

How comfortable were you with tech before and after you went inside?

I was incarcerated for three years. When I went in, I felt like I was very tech fluent, but when I was released, it seemed as though the entire tech world had changed. There were new norms and even how email was done felt unfamiliar. Different platforms and software were being used and I felt overwhelmed.

What was a highlight of the program?

The most important class that I took was a learning path called “Basic Digital Skills.” It helped me learn how to use documents and email efficiently. This was reinforced by The Last Mile because we regularly use both of these when communicating and collaborating.

What’s next for you?

Since participating, I secured a job as a Returned Citizen Advocate at The Last Mile. I went from using what I learned (like how to) write a resume, cover letter, apply for a job and interview, to securing a role that allows me to help other members of the community.

I’ve had the opportunity to pay it forward. Alumni are encouraged to participate in the program once they are released from prison. Because I have first-hand experience with the program, I can assist them with any questions and talk about the value and importance of each lesson or learning path from personal experience.

In the future, I plan to continue to support people that are returning to society, and to help people learn digital skills and expand their knowledge. My passion is to help those coming after me to be able to create and build the best future for themselves that is possible.

Spotlight: The first Google for Startups Ukraine Support Fund recipients

Over the past three months, the world has witnessed the resilience and spirit of the Ukrainian people. We’ve seen how an entire population has responded to unimaginable circumstances and demonstrated not only a will to survive, but to persevere and succeed.

We know this spirit well from the strong and vibrant Ukrainian startup community, which boasts its share of “unicorn” startups including GitLab, Grammarly, Genesis, People.ai, and Firefly Aerospace.

To help Ukrainian entrepreneurs maintain and grow their businesses, strengthen their community and build a foundation for post-war economic recovery, in March we announced a $5 million Google for Startups Ukraine Support Fund to allocate equity-free cash awards throughout 2022. Selected Ukraine-based startups will receive up to $100,000 in non-dilutive funding as well as ongoing Google mentorship, product support, and Cloud credits.

Meet the first recipients

Today, we are proud to announce the first cohort of recipients of the Google for Startups Ukraine Support Fund.

  • Almexoft: A low-code platform for business process automation and electronic document management.
  • CareTech Human: A fully-automated, plug-and-play device for daily health checks and early disease detection.
  • Discoperi: An AI-powered video control system that collects traffic data to prevent car accidents and make roads safer.
  • Dots Platform: A cloud-based, all-in-one food delivery platform.
  • Elai.io: A text-to-video platform that allows users to generate video content with virtual presenters from text.
  • Effy.ai: An HR software that empowers leaders to build high-performing teams.
  • Handy.ai: An internal сommunications platform offering a personal virtual assistant for employees.
  • Lab24: A digital medical laboratory marketplace connecting customers to affordable services.
  • Mindly: An end-to-end mental health platform for online therapy that offers AI-powered patient care and clinical admin automation.
  • PRAVOSUD: A litigation analytics platform enabling lawyers to craft successful legal strategies.
  • pleso therapy: A mental health platform that efficiently matches patients with therapists.
  • Private Tech Network: An AI-driven “venture capital-as-a-service” platform, designed to make fundraising faster and more efficient.
  • Releaf Paper: The world's first manufacturer of paper products made from fallen leaves.
  • Respeecher: A high-fidelity voice cloning (voice conversion) system for content creators.
  • Skyworker: A hiring app providing tech recruiting and human resources services.
  • VanOnGo: An AI-powered, direct-to-consumer delivery platform.
  • ZooZy: A one-stop pet care mobile app streamlining all of your pet’s needs—food, training advice, healthcare, and other essentials—into a single platform.

Startups are selected based on the criteria and evaluation of an interview, and Ukrainian-founded startups that meet the criteria can apply on a rolling basis here. And while some companies may not qualify for the Fund itself, Google for Startups continues to offer other forms of support that can be found here.

Key challenges, according to one Ukrainian founder

We spoke to Ukraine Support Fund recipient Dimitri Podoliev, CEO and co-founder of mental health support app Mindly, to better understand the specific challenges that Ukrainian founders face as they navigate running their businesses during a war.

When Mindly participated in last year's Google for Startups Accelerator: Europe - for healthtech and wellbeing startups - Podoliev’s focus was “to build a team that will be able to quickly, efficiently and effectively use a data-driven approach to build an amazing product.”

An office showing Mindly’s CEO and co-founder Dimitri Podoliev (on screen) meeting with Sundar Pichai

Mindly’s CEO and co-founder Dimitri Podoliev (on screen) meeting with Sundar Pichai

Now, Mindly is pivoting to help make mental health support accessible to all Ukrainians, in the war zone and beyond. During a round table with Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai at the Google for Startups Campus in Warsaw, Podoliev shared that the support extends to psychotherapists as well as patients. “Therapists are people too, and they are all from Ukraine and in very difficult situations, I feel it unfair to ask them to work for free. During the time of war, Mindly has committed to invest 100% of its income in mental health therapy for Ukrainians who currently can’t afford to pay for it themselves. Our goal is to maximize the number of free-of-charge therapy sessions we can provide and people we can help,” said Podoliev.

With Google’s support, Mindly plans to expand to Poland, which has seen a huge increase in Ukrainian population. Podoliev sees Warsaw as a key player in helping Ukraine’s economic recovery, and will use the Ukraine Support Fund resources to scale in Poland, generate new revenue streams, and provide virtual therapy to as many people affected by the crisis as possible.

Support for Ukrainian founders like Podoliev will help them succeed and build the tech that their country needs now. Stay tuned as we continue to announce more Ukraine Support Fund recipients over the next few months.

An accelerator for early-stage Latino founders

After 10 years of working with early-stage founders at Google for Startups, I’ve seen time and time again how access activates potential. Access to capital is the fuel that makes startups go, access to community keeps them running, and access to mentorship helps them navigate the road to success.

But access to the resources needed to grow one's business are still not evenly distributed. Despite being the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs in the U.S., only 3% of Latino-owned companies ever reach $1 million in revenue. As part of our commitment to support the Latino founder community, today we're announcing a new partnership with Visible Hands, a Boston-based venture capital firm dedicated to investing in the potential of underrepresented founders.

During last year’s Google for Startups Founders Academy, I met Luis Suarez, a founder and fellow Chicagoan whose startup, Sanarai, addresses the massive gap in Spanish- speaking mental health providers in the U.S. Sanarai connects Latinos to therapists in Latin American countries for virtual sessions in their native language. When I asked Luis about the most helpful programs he had participated in, he highly recommended Visible Hands. The program gave Luis the opportunity to work alongside a community of diverse founders to grow his startup and have also helped him craft his early fundraising strategy. Visible Hands also supplies stipends to their participants, helping founders who might otherwise not be able to take the leap into full-time entrepreneurship.

Inspired by feedback from founders like Luis, Google for Startups is partnering with Visible Hands to run a 20-week fellowship program, VHLX, to better support the next wave of early-stage Latino founders across the U.S. and to create greater economic opportunity for the Latino community. In addition to hands-on support from Google and industry experts, we are providing $10,000 in cash for every VHLX participant to help kickstart their ideas. Following the program, founders will have the opportunity to receive additional investment from Visible Hands, up to $150,000.

Our work with Visible Hands and our recent partnership with eMerge Americas is part of a$7 million commitment to increase representation and support of the Latino startup community. I’m also looking forward to the Google for Startups Latino Leaders Summit in Miami this June, where in partnership with Inicio Ventures we’re bringing together around 30 top community leaders and investors from across the country to discuss how we can collectively support Latino founders in ways that will truly make a difference. And soon, we'll share the recipients Google for Startups Latino Founders Fund.

If you or someone you know would be a great fit for VHLX, encourage them to apply by June 24.