Tag Archives: small business

Hear from app and game founders in #WeArePlay USA

Last week, we launched #WeArePlay, a new series featuring the people behind your favorite Google Play apps and games. To celebrate the Fourth of July holiday, we’re putting a special spotlight on app founders and developers across every U.S. state. #WeArePlay USA introduces you to the passionate professionals behind more than 150 growing businesses.

A gif of a collage of headshots that turns into the shape of a U.S. map. The gif ends with the text “#WeArePlay” and the URL g.co/play/weareplay-usa

Let’s take a quick road trip across the #WeArePlay USA collection, starting in the Big Apple. New Yorker Tanya was so inspired when her eight-year-old daughter asked to open an investment account that she created Goalsetter — an app that helps kids learn about finance through fun activities. She wants to help kids, and their parents, build stronger financial futures: “Part of my mission is to close the wealth gap in America by educating the next generation.” Read more stories from New York.

A graphic featuring a photo of Tanya with her kids, her name, her location of “New York, New York,” the name of her app “Goalsetter” and the #WeArePlay logo and URL.

Our next stop is Raleigh, North Carolina to meet Joe, John and Grant. They created JouleBug to help people better understand their environmental impact through interactive challenges — like competing with friends to save the most energy or reduce the most waste. “As we go through our days, it’s become easy to waste resources and not even notice it,” says Grant. “We want to draw attention to this and show how simple it is to change your habits.” Discover more stories from North Carolina.

A graphic featuring a photo of Joe, John and Grant on a mountain, their names, their location of “Raleigh, North Carolina” the name of their app “Joulebug” and the #WeArePlay logo and URL.

Making our way west, we meet Clarence and Edna in Tulsa, Oklahoma. They both share a passion for education and worked together to create Boddle — a 3D game that motivates kids to learn math. Using AI, Boddle also helps parents and teachers tailor learning content and track performance. Check out more stories from Oklahoma.

A graphic featuring a photo of Clarence and Edna, their names, their location of “Tulsa, Oklahoma” the name of their app “Boddle Learning” and the #WeArePlay logo and URL.

Our final stop brings us to Santa Monica, California with Jenova. While he was in film school, Jenova asked himself — could a game make you cry the same way a movie can? He launched thatgamecompany and started building games that tug at players’ heartstrings. His company now has close to 100 employees. Read more stories from California.

A graphic featuring a photo of Jenova, his name, his location of “Santa Monica, California” the name of his app “thatgamecompany” and the #WeArePlay logo and URL.

Explore the rest of the #WeArePlay USA collection, and stay tuned for more stories from around the world.

Discounts and prizes for small business heroes

Every business has a story: how they started, how they persevered, how they’ve adapted over time. Small businesses are where we have our birthday dinners, find the perfect unique gift for the friend who has everything, and take our favorite shirt with a giant stain to be saved (again). No matter where you live, small businesses are central to our lives and they show up for us in countless ways.

So we’re marking this International Small Business Week with a few new ways to support small businesses, including exclusive product discounts, our first Heroes of Small Business sweepstakes and business scholarships through our partnership with StartOut.

Exclusive product discounts for small businesses

Making it even easier for businesses and people to connect is at the heart of what we do. We’re offering exclusive discounts on digital tools that help small businesses operate more efficiently, reach more people and stay in touch with existing customers and employees:

  • Three months free of Google Workspace
  • 40% off of a domain from Google Domains
  • $100 off a Chromebook
  • 60 days of Shopify Free and a free Shopify-built store

These offers are only available in the U.S. and Canada until July 1. You can learn more and redeem these offers at g.co/smallbiz/week.

Nominate a small business hero

We’re also introducing our first Heroes of Small Business sweepstakes. You have until July 5 to nominate your favorite U.S.-based small business for a chance to win $10,000 for the business — and you’ll receive $500 to spend with them (terms apply). Get started nominating and watch the stories of some small business heroes from across the country at g.co/smallbiz/heroes.

Business scholarships for LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs

Google is helping LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs succeed with funds to StartOut, an LGBTQ+ nonprofit organization that helps facilitate mentorship, access to capital and tools to create an equitable playing field. Through StartOut's Acceleration Initiative, Google will fund more than 60 scholarships to help Black, Latinx and female identifying LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs to grow and scale their businesses. You can apply on the StartOut website.

Whether you’re a small business owner or just a small business fan, we hope you find a way to celebrate the incredible impact small businesses make on our communities with us this week.

#WeArePlay: Meet the people behind your apps and games

Every month, over 2.5 billion people visit Google Play to discover millions of apps and games. Behind each of these apps is an entrepreneur (or two… or three) with a unique story to tell. Some have been programming since childhood, others just learned how to code. Some live in busy cities, others in smaller towns. No matter how different their backgrounds are, these creators all have one thing in common — the passion to turn an idea into a growing business.

#WeArePlay celebrates and shares their stories. Over the next few months, you’ll hear from the people and businesses behind Google Play apps and games, and how they’re making an impact around the world.

Our series kicks off spotlighting Yvonne and Alyssa, the London-based mother and daughter duo who created Frobelles — a dress-up game that helps increase representation of African and Caribbean hair styles in the game industry.

You’ll also meet Hand Talk Translator’s Ronaldo, Carlos and Theadeu from Brazil, DailyArt’s Zuzanna from Poland, and TravelSpend’s world-trotting couple Ina and Jonas from Germany.

Gif swipes between photos of Ronaldo, Carlos and Thadeu, Zuzanna, and Ina and Jonas with their respective app names and the #WeArePlay logo.

A big thank you to all the apps and games businesses that are part of our Google Play community. Dive into some of their stories today and stay tuned for more.

Encontrando pertenencia en espacios LGBTQ+

El Stonewall Inn, un pequeño bar en la ciudad de Nueva York donde en junio de 1969 las personas LGBTQ+ lucharon contra años de opresión y abuso, tiene un significado especial para muchas personas, incluyéndome a mí. Cuando me mudé a Nueva York en 2007, vivía en West Village, el barrio donde se encuentra el bar. Compartí muchas noches memorables y significativas con nuevos amigos en Stonewall y otros bares locales, donde sentimos un sentido de comunidad y pertenencia. Al ser una minoría en la mayoría de los demás establecimientos, es difícil explicar lo reconfortante que es entrar en un lugar y sentir que estás entre tu gente y no sentirte diferente o inseguro. Eso es lo que estos lugares eran para mí y millones de personas más.

La más significativa de esas noches de Stonewall Inn fue cuando conocí a mi futura esposa, Christine, una empresaria digital con su propia startup de medios LGBTQ+. Además de este trabajo, ella también era bartender allí los jueves por la noche. No hace falta decir que pasé más jueves por la noche allí de lo que debería, pero valió la pena.

Con tan buenos recuerdos de mi tiempo allí, me sorprendió saber que el Stonewall Inn tenía casi el doble del tamaño que tiene ahora cuando tuvo lugar la rebelión en 1969. A medida que aumentaban los alquileres en la ciudad de Nueva York, los arrendatarios se vieron obligados a alquilar parte del edificio, que ahora está en Christopher Street, 51.

Hoy, Google continúa con nuestro compromiso con la comunidad LGBTQ+ al apoyar a Pride Live, un grupo de defensa dedicado a la lucha por la igualdad LGBTQ+. Con casi $1 millón de dólares en apoyo de Google y Google.org, Pride Live está trabajando para asegurar el contrato de arrendamiento de Christopher Street, 51 para recomponer en su totalidad el Stonewall Inn y construir el Stonewall National Monument Education and Visitor Center. El 24 de junio, Pride Live celebrará la reunión de Stonewall Inn, con la invitada musical Kesha, en su evento anual "Stonewall Day".

Google se ha comprometido a preservar y compartir esta historia del movimiento moderno por los derechos LGBTQ+ en los EE. UU. En 2019, a través de subvenciones de Google.org por un total de 1,5 millones de dólares y el trabajo incansable de Googlers voluntarios, el Centro Comunitario LGBT de Nueva York conmemoró el 50º aniversario de los disturbios de Stonewall con el lanzamiento de Stonewall Forever, el primer "monumento interactivo " dedicado a la comunidad LGBTQ+ y su lucha por la igualdad de derechos.

Dentro de Google, nuestros grupos de recursos para empleados PRIDE at y Trans at Google continúan creciendo cada año. Es genial ver a tantos Googlers LGBTQ+ y sus aliados unirse a sus comunidades locales y participar en las marchas locales del Orgullo. Por primera vez, los Googlers participarán en Baltic Pride, organizado por la Liga Gay Lituana (un beneficiario de Google.org) en Vilnius. Mostraremos una pieza de Google Arts & Culture sobre Harvey Milk, quien fue un pionero de los derechos LGBTQ+ y tenía ascendencia lituana.

El objetivo delOrgullo no es solo de celebración. Ha sido otro año difícil para las personas LGBTQ+ y muchas comunidades históricamente marginadas. Vemos una continua discriminación y violencia en todo el mundo, especialmente contra la comunidad trans y para las personas en las intersecciones de las comunidades negras, asiáticas e isleñas del Pacífico en los EE. UU. Además, muchos refugiados LGBTQ+ en Ucrania siguen desplazados y son ignorados mientras el conflicto continúa

Dados los desafíos que enfrentan tantas personas LGBTQ+, estamos donando a organizaciones sin fines de lucro que trabajan directamente con la comunidad. Los empleados de Google podrán donar a organizaciones sin fines de lucro durante el mes del Orgullo y Google.org igualará sus donaciones paraorganizaciones benéficas LGBTQ+ locales de todo el mundo. Google.org también ha hecho una contribución crítica al Fondo de Emergencia de Ucrania de OutRight Action International. Este programa brinda apoyo humanitario a los refugiados LGBTQ+, brinda ayuda a los países vecinos y ayuda a aquellos que han sido desplazados internamente y afectados por el conflicto. También proporcionamos publicidad de búsqueda donada y otras herramientas a organizaciones sin fines de lucro como GLAAD y The Trevor Project, ayudando a difundir su trabajo fundamental y a cultivar el apoyo para las comunidades LGBTQ+.

También continuamos nuestro trabajo para hacer que nuestros productos sean más inclusivos y útiles para todos, incluida la comunidad LGBTQ+. Escuchamos directamente de los miembros de la comunidad transgénero que la forma en que Google Photos estaba recordando los momentosdel pasadodoloroso. Así que el año pasado trabajamos con GLAAD y con la comunidad trans y aprendimos cómo podíamos hacer para que recordar con Google Photos fuera más inclusivo. Este esfuerzo llevó al lanzamiento de nuevos controles que permiten a los usuarios ocultar fotos de ciertos períodos de tiempo o personas de la función Recuerdos de Google Photos.

Nuestros productos continúan ayudando a los propietarios de pequeñas empresas a conectarse con la comunidad LGBTQ+. Como la función de Google Maps que ayuda a los comerciantes a mostrar su compromiso mediante el uso de los atributos "LGBTQ+ friendly" y "Transgender safespace" y nuestros productos de Google Ads que ayudan a las empresas a conectarse con usuarios que buscan productos fabricados por empresas que coincidan con sus valores.

Mientras nuestra comunidad sigue siendo atacada tanto aquí en los EE. UU. como en el extranjero, lo que me da esperanza es el trabajo que hacemos en todos nuestros productos para ayudar a la comunidad LGBTQ+ a encontrar lugares donde puedan sentirse aceptados y seguros. Encontré Stonewall Inn y encontré a mi esposa. Muchos otros establecimientos, como el Stonewall Inn, juegan un papel vital para muchos en nuestra comunidad. Son más que simples lugares donde socializamos y nos reunimos, brindan un sentido de comunidad, pertenencia y seguridad que salva vidas y que todos merecen.

Finding belonging in LGBTQ+ spaces

The Stonewall Inn, a small bar in New York City where in June of 1969 LGBTQ+ people fought back against years of oppression and abuse, has special meaning for many people, including me. When I moved to New York City in 2007, I lived in the West Village, the neighborhood where the bar is located. I shared many memorable and meaningful nights with newfound friends at Stonewall and other local bars, where we felt a sense of community and belonging. As a minority in most other establishments, it’s hard to explain how comforting it is to walk into a place and feel like you are among your people and not feel othered or insecure. That’s what these bars were to me and millions of others.

The most meaningful one of those Stonewall Inn nights was when I met my future wife, Christine, a digital entrepreneur with her own LGBTQ+ media startup. She also happened to bartend there on Thursday nights. Needless to say, I spent more Thursday nights there then I should have after that, but it was well worth it.

With such fond memories of my time there, I was surprised to learn the Stonewall Inn was almost twice the size it is now when the rebellion took place in 1969. As New York City rents rose, the leaseholders were forced to let part of the building go, which is now 51 Christopher Street.

Google has been committed to preserving and sharing this history of the modern LGBTQ+ rights movement in the U.S. Today, we’re building on our commitment to the LGBTQ+ community with almost $1 million in support from Google and Google.org to Pride Live, an advocacy group dedicated to the fight for LGBTQ+ equality that is working to secure the lease to 51 Christopher Street to reunite the Stonewall Inn and build the Stonewall National Monument Education and Visitor Center. On June 24th, Pride Live will be celebrating the reuniting of the Stonewall Inn, with musical guest Kesha, at their annual “Stonewall Day'' event.

In 2019, through Google.org grants totaling $1.5 million and the tireless work of volunteer Googlers, The LGBT Community Center of New York commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots with the launch of the Stonewall Forever, the first-ever interactive “living monument” dedicated to the LGBTQ+ community and their fight for equal rights.

Within Google, our PRIDE at and Trans at Google employee resource groups continue to grow each year. It’s great to see so many LGBTQ+ Googlers and their allies coming together with their local communities and participating in local Pride marches. For the first time, Googlers will be participating in Baltic Pride, organized by Lithuanian Gay League (a Google.org grantee) in Vilnius. We will showcase a Google Arts & Culture piece about Harvey Milk, who was an LGBTQ+ rights pioneer and of Lithuanian descent.

The mood of this Pride isn’t just celebratory. It’s been another tough year for LGBTQ+ folks and many historically marginalized communities. We see continuing discrimination and violence worldwide, especially against the trans community and for folks at the intersections of Asian and Pacific Islander and Black communities in the U.S. Moreover, many LGBTQ+ refugees in Ukraine remain displaced and overlooked as conflict continues in the region.

Given the challenges facing so many LGBTQ+ people, we are donating to nonprofits that work directly with the community. Googlers will be able to donate to nonprofits during Pride month and Google.org will match their donations to local LGBTQ+ charities around the world. Google.org has also made a critical contribution to OutRight Action International’s Ukraine Emergency Fund. This program is delivering humanitarian support to LGBTQ+ refugees, providing aid to neighboring countries and helping those that have been internally displaced and impacted by conflict. We are also providing donated Search advertising and other tools to nonprofit organizations like GLAAD and The Trevor Project, helping them spread awareness of their critical work and cultivate support for LGBTQ+ communities.

We are also continuing our work on making our products more inclusive and useful for everyone – including the LGBTQ+ community. We heard directly from members of the transgender community that the way Google Photos was resurfacing old Memories was hurtful. So last year we brought in our partners at GLAAD and worked with the trans community and learned how we could make reminiscing with Google Photos more inclusive. This effort led to launching new controls that let users hide photos of certain time periods or people from Google Photos’ Memories feature.

Our products continue to help small businesses owners connect with the LGBTQ+ community. Like helping merchants show their commitment by using the “LGBTQ+ friendly” and "Transgender safespace” attributes on Maps and Search, and our Google Ads products that help businesses connect with users that are looking for products made by companies that match their values.

As our community continues to be under attack both here in the U.S. and abroad, what gives me hope is the work we do across our products and platforms to help the LGBTQ+ community find places where they can feel accepted and safe. I found the Stonewall Inn and I found my wife. So many other establishments, like the Stonewall Inn, play a vital role for many in our community. They are more than just places where we socialize and gather, they bring a life-saving sense of community, belonging and security that everyone deserves.

Meet the entrepreneur connecting Kenyans to healthy food

When Binti Mwallau started Hasanat Ventures, her dairy processing company in Kenya, she expected some resistance from her peers in an industry dominated by men. But she was surprised to run into more skepticism from her customers. Despite her background in finance and biochemistry, many of them questioned her credibility as a woman entrepreneur.

Worried that her gender would affect Hasanat Ventures’ reputation, Binti considered hiring a man as the face of the business. But she eventually decided against it, standing firm in her pride as a solo founder and committed to tearing down the perception that women-run businesses in Africa aren't as successful as those run by men.

“I think we should be challenging the outdated narrative that businesses run by men are guaranteed to be more successful,” Binti says. “Based on research, we've seen that businesses run by women actually perform better. We should use this as an opportunity to prove that as a woman, you do stand a chance to succeed in everything that you do.”

Just as important to Binti as breaking this bias was giving Kenyans more access to affordable nutrition. “I realized that many people couldn’t afford premium yogurt. So we entered the market with a high-quality product that’s affordable for lower and middle-income earners who have become more health-conscious,” she says.

Binti knew she had to drive awareness for her brand, particularly to reach Kenyans who needed convincing about yogurt’s health benefits. So she turned to Google Digital Skills for Africa, which offers virtual classes to help entrepreneurs grow their skills and businesses, and completed a digital marketing course to help her get Hasanat Ventures online.

“After participating in the course, we knew our online presence had to be bigger than just social media,” Binti says. “Now that we have a fully functional website, we are actually getting leads from outside Kenya.”

As part of the course, Binti learned how to use Google Analytics to measure her website’s performance. She could now monitor traffic insights, analyze pageviews and better understand who was visiting her site.

Binti’s determination and passion for her business are showing up in the results. In its first year, Hasanat Ventures supplied over 300 retailers with affordable dairy products. Three years later, it’s grown to support more than 50 farmers and even built its own production facility to keep up with demand.

“I really want to make sure that I am visible and speaking up in spaces women don’t usually have access to,” Binti says. “As Hasanat Ventures continues to grow, I am confident I can help change the perception of African women in business.”

58% of Africa’s entrepreneurs are women. That’s why we’re empowering them with the platform and tools to grow their businesses. Learn more about our #LookMeUp campaign, highlighting Africa’s women entrepreneurs like Binti who are working to break the bias.

This YouTuber wants to bring financial literacy to Africans

Nicolette Mashile wanted to find a more fulfilling career. So in 2016, she resigned from her job as a Client Service Director at a Johannesburg advertising agency. But quitting meant Nicolette was forced to stick to a stricter budget.

She began sharing her money-saving tips on YouTube and it wasn’t long before she noticed her advice resonated with African viewers. Eventually, this South African content creator built a significant following for her candid take on money management, and was invited to join the #YouTubeBlackVoices Creator Class of 2021. This in turn helped herFinancial Bunny YouTube channel garner almost 9 million views.

“I was very frank about money management, how to effectively budget and how to plan your spending. When I saw my YouTube following growing, I knew this personal finance advice was making a real impact and I committed to improving financial literacy in South Africa,” Nicolette says.

This meant finding creative ways to make financial literacy more inclusive and accessible while also removing the stigma attached to discussing personal finance. Nicolette spun her YouTube success into two books — one for adults titled “What’s Your Move,” and another for children, “Coco the Money Bunny.”

“When I created the books, I had to develop a new website so it was important to identify our different customer types and implement search engine optimization. I needed to do research to understand the target customers and develop the website to meet their needs and Google Ads was a promotional channel I experimented with,” Nicolette added.

But it was the launch of her Save or Spend board game and subsequent app that sparked her shift towards technology.

“I’d successfully leveraged digital media to share financial content, so naturally it made sense to use the power of tech to design an interactive app that could simplify money management in a fun and engaging way,” she says.

Using gamification helped to take away the seriousness around money while also addressing the lack of financial education in South Africa. In a digital era where most Africans own a smartphone rather than a laptop, Nicolette knew a free app would be an accessible tool to teach people about money. Her app has proven popular due in large part to the massive following she has built online since launching her YouTube channel back in 2017.

Nicolette’s also grown her business to include consultancy and coaching, and she relies a lot on Google Meets for some of her sessions.

“My consultancy work with brands and corporate individuals means I use video calling quite often and for this I use Google Meets. I do one-on-one coaching with multiple clients per month and it’s super simple to just send a link and jump on a call because people can log in from anywhere,” she says.

Ultimately, Nicolette hopes to continue empowering her followers by arming them with the tools and skills they need to better manage their money. “I want to keep encouraging South Africans to have the difficult discussions people often avoid around personal finance.”

Fifty-eight percent of Africa’s entrepreneurs are women. That’s why we’re empowering them with the platform and tools to grow their businesses. #LookMeUp is a call for all to #BreakTheBias. Find out more here.

Find your online home with Google Domains, now out of beta

Building your online presence starts with a domain. It’s your online address, your home on the web, and it should be simple to get started. That’s why we launched Google Domains in beta in 2015: to be the easiest place to find, buy and manage a domain. Since then, millions of customers have trusted us with their online home, and we’ve added more tools and features to bring Google’s ease of use, reliability and value to finding and using a domain name.

Today, we’re moving Google Domains out of beta and into general availability in 26 countries. With millions of active registrations, we know how valuable domain names are to customers, and we take seriously the responsibility to provide a service that’s often at the very heart of a business, brand or passion.

As we move out of beta, from now until April 15, we’re offering new and returning users 20% off any single domain registration or transfer-in to Google Domains using the code DOMAINS20 (see discount Terms and Conditions). And if you’re new here, read on to get to know us a bit better.

Here’s what you get when you register with Google Domains.

Tools to build your online presence with Google. With more than 300 domain endings available, you can find a name that's right for your business. Google tools can spread your brand further: Turn people who find you on Google Search and Maps into new customers with a free Business Profile and add custom email and collaboration tools with Workspace. Without coding, create a professional-looking website or online store for free using Google Sites or with premium partners like Wix, Shopify, Squarespace, Weebly and Bluehost. And there are simple integrations with tools like Google Ads and Search Console, so you can reach customers across the web, and track where your visitors are coming from.

The reliability you need. Google Domains provides stable and reliable service. We give you access to high performance DNS, meaning your domain name is easy to access regardless of where your visitors are located. It’s the same infrastructure used by Google. Plus we offer around-the-clock customer support from real people.

Added value with no added cost. Privacy and security features should be standard when you’re creating your online home. Features like 2-Step Verification and one-click DNSSEC bring an added layer of security to your Google Domains account at no additional cost. If you want to keep your information private, we also cover the cost of privacy protection.

Whether they're promoting passion projects, working on a side hustle or dedicating their lives to a cause, our millions of customers have chosen Google Domains because it's good for their businesses — and good for the internet.

A watch company founder looks to the future

In 2014, Randy Williams founded Talley & Twine Watch Company with the desire to create beautiful, high-quality watches at a reasonable price point. Since then, he’s grown the business to 16 employees, has expanded to hundreds of styles and gives back to a variety of nonprofits. Digital tools like Google Ads have been critical to growing his business, helping him efficiently build his brand and connect with customers from across the world. As we celebrate Black-owned businesses this Black History Month, we had a few questions for Randy about how he got started and his advice for other aspiring business owners.

How were you inspired by other Black-owned businesses before founding Talley & Twine?

Seeing other successful Black-owned businesses inspired me by showing me what was possible. Black entrepreneurs are more than business owners; they're leaders in their communities. Seeing them opened my mind and allowed me to be creative and to dream. I'm still inspired daily by the creativity and ingenuity of entrepreneurs from my community.

What do you know now that you wish you had known on Talley & Twine’s first day?

In the beginning stages of starting Talley & Twine, I had no idea of the true power of having a great team around you. The synthesis and growth you can experience with a team versus working solo are unmatched. Knowing what I know now, I would have sought out partners and employees much sooner.

What advice would you give to other aspiring business owners?

View starting a business as a learning process. Allow yourself to be a student of entrepreneurship by synthesizing the lessons you learn along the way. Things won't always go as planned, but view these challenges as building blocks for your personal and professional growth.

What are some of the future plans you have for the brand?

We have plans to launch our first Swiss-made automatic watch this year and we're really excited about it. We also plan to expand our philanthropic efforts to support future entrepreneurs and business leaders. In 2021, we launched the first Talley & Twine business scholarship at my alma mater, Albany State University and we plan to extend that to other historically Black colleges and universities as well.

What makes you most proud to be a business owner?

Hearing from other business owners about how they were inspired to start after hearing Talley & Twine's story makes me the proudest. That means the cycle that inspired me to start continues to multiply and flourish.

Lessons from helping 10 million during the pandemic

2022 marks the third year of the pain of the COVID-19 pandemic. Though we’ve yet to see the long-term impact it will have on how we live, work, study and grow, I’ve never seen a time where technology has been as helpful to as many people as it has been over these last three years.

The same technology that has kept so many going will be key to the economic recovery, but we must also make sure no one is left behind.

In 2015, when I first started this role at Google, the EU released a report highlighting a digital skills gap that threatened to leave a million jobs unfilled. Seeing a unique challenge and opportunity for Google to help, we launched Grow With Google, which aims to help accelerate economic recovery through our technology, tools and training. Through Grow with Google, we’ve trained 88 million people around the world in the skills they need to build their career, launch or grow their own business.

With the onset of the pandemic, we sought to build on these efforts. The acceleration of technology was keeping businesses afloat and helping communities connect — but it also risked leaving some people behind.

So in June 2020 we set ourselves a new target, pledging to help 10 million people and businesses in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) find jobs, digitize and grow by the end of 2021. This important milestone has now been reached, and surpassed.

We approached this challenge by:

Providing businesses with the tools they need to thrive

Research has found 80% of small businesses increased their use of digital tools during the pandemic. So we’ve launched more than 200 new features since March 2020.

For example, with Business Profiles, we made it easier for businesses to manage their presence directly on Google Search and the Google Maps app and connect with customers online. These tools have helped businesses and people adjust and thrive during the pandemic. In fact, boutique French retailer Indira de Paris now attributes 70% of their sales to digital, thanks to these features.

We have also launched new features on Search and Google Maps enabling restaurants to inform customers they now do delivery — or for local stores to say they offer curbside pick-up. People can now find this information on Search and Maps for more than six million restaurants and retailers in Europe. To help retailers to connect with more customers, we made it free for retailers to list their products on the Shopping tab throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa. To help retailers stand out online, in over 10 EMEA markets, we launched tailored recommendations for every business with our new tool, Local Opportunity Finder.

Supporting people and businesses to learn new digital skills

To make the most of the digital opportunities available to them, people and businesses need the right skills. Across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, as part of our Grow with Google efforts, we focused on providing digital skills training.

We have worked alongside partners to launch initiatives aimed at supporting local businesses and communities to make the digital transition. With the German Retail Association (HDE) we launched the ZukunftHandel initiative, which has provided over 70,000 retailers with coaching and other support.

Long before the coronavirus, it was clear the jobs of the future would require anew set of digital skills. McKinsey now estimates that more than 25% of people may need to transition new jobs because of the pandemic. In response, we launched new Google Career Certificates to help people reskill for roles in high-growth areas such as IT support, project management, data analytics or UX design. People like Jelena in the UK have also benefited from the 100,000 scholarships we are providing in partnership with local governmental and non-governmental organizations. Jelena participated in a Project Management course from the Google Career Certificate program and is now a digital project coordinator for various charitable initiatives.

A picture of in Jelena Stephenson in Serbia who completed the Project Management course from the Google Career Certificate programme

A picture of in Jelena Stephenson in Serbia who completed the Project Management course from the Google Career Certificate programme

From our experience we feel there are five key lessons to share as we all continue the journey to economic growth and recovery in 2022.

1. The digital transition will continue at pace in 2022.

The future will be about businesses having the right skills and using the full range of digital tools to take advantage of the opportunities technology presents. Research has found that small businesses in Europe with a sophisticated use of digital tools were able to build a “digital safety net” during the pandemic, resulting in 80% better sales and 60% better revenue. For example, German fashion company das schöne leben ran their first in-house Search campaign during the pandemic and has tripled their direct online orders with customers of all ages throughout Germany.

2. Obtaining new skills will support the transition and expand the digital opportunity to more

Research by Google and McKinsey from 2020 shows that more than 90 million people in EMEA may need to learn new skills for future jobs, and that some people will need to change careers entirely. The past two years have only accelerated those changes further. Our work has provided us with numerous examples of businesses and individuals making the most of this opportunity. Noemi in Italy learned new skills so she could help local small businesses to digitize and grow, while Alba in Madrid used her Career Certificate to secure a job in IT support. Our Grow with Google and Career Certificate programs will continue to provide people with these skills.

3. For lasting impact, we must ensure that this opportunity is open to all

The pandemic has reinforced growing inequalities both between economies and within them. We know certain groups are more impacted than others: those without a college degree, ethinic minorities and women. To address this, we need new ways of thinking. We know that digital skills and tools, with the right support, can unlock everyone’s potential. In our efforts, we have seen countless examples of this — from Ibrahim in Italy, to the many women-owned businesses using Google tools across Europe. We will continue to work hard to reach everyone and will continue to work with a diverse group of organizations like MExoxo in Greece, which supports women, refugees and LGBTQ+ women in entrepreneurship.

4. Current challenges call for greater collaboration between organizations, communities and governments.

Partnerships have been the cornerstone of our work in supporting communities and governments. In France, working in partnership with Pole Emploi in some regions has helped job seekers identify gaps in digital skills and ways to access them. In 2022, expanding the digital opportunity and driving digitization should see this work continue. This will require continued collaboration on policy efforts, such as those led by the European Commission, as well as careful consideration of the regulations that will support a digital-led recovery.

5. The green economy will be the bedrock of the present and future.

The pandemic has demonstrated our collective ability to tackle major challenges — but coronavirus is not the only crisis we are facing. As we look to recover from the pandemic, the same focus must be given to fighting the climate crisis. Entrepreneurs are already working with governments and organizations to develop the technologies capable of addressing this challenge. Through theGoogle for Startups Accelerator: Sustainable Development Goals Project 2030 and anchoring over €2 billion of green infrastructure investments in Europe by 2025, we are backing those who are striving to find these solutions. We also want to help businesses and individuals make the right choices, working with SolarPower Europe’s #SolarWorks program to raise awareness of the diverse range of careers available in solar as well as promoting sustainable choices through the products we provide. In the U.K. we have worked with Planet Mark to offer training to help small businesses their journey towards sustainability.

The pandemic has presented enormous challenges to communities and economies across the world. While difficult work is still required to respond to and recover from the public health crisis, our work in helping 10 million people and businesses in Europe, the Middle East and Africa to find jobs, digitize and grow has underlined to me that there are also enormous opportunities. The future we need to build is an inclusive, sustainable and digitally accelerated one — and we are here to play our part.