Tag Archives: small business

Funding Black founders fuels generational change

As part of a series of racial equity commitments made in June, we announced the Google for Startups Black Founders Fund, a $5 million initiative to provide cash awards up to $100,000 to Black led startups in the US. These awards are non-dilutive, meaning that unlike most investments, founders are not giving up any ownership in their company in exchange for funding.  

Today, we’re announcing the 76 inspiring founderswho have been selected to receive awards from the Black Founders Fund. They’re building incredible startups solving tough problems such as helping Americans get out of debt, ensuring that towns have access to clean drinking water and making our healthcare system more accessible. We interviewed every recipient and asked them the same question: What happens when you fund Black founders? And despite varied backgrounds, missions and motivations, when we asked that question, we saw some clear themes emerge in their answers. 

When you fund Black founders, you:

  • Bring different perspectives to old and new challenges. Whether it's creating technology to form stronger bonds between teachers and parents or using data analytics to help small businesses thrive, Black founders approach big problems for their communities and our world in a way that no one else can. 

  • Level the playing field and build momentum for success. Black founders are consistently locked out of access to early capital that is critical to jump-starting their businesses. With better access to capital early in their journey, founders can make critical hires and prove traction, setting their business up for sustained success. “I can't tell you how many times I've seen other companies that had less traction than us raise more money at higher valuations,” Qoins's Nate Washington tells us, “because they had family or friends funding to get them started.” 

  • Fuel wealth generation and create equal access to economic opportunity.Founders, of course, want success for their businesses. But almost all of the recipients that we spoke with are building their startups in order to ultimately give back to their communities and to pave the way for the next generation of Black founders.

In the U.S., less than one percent of venture capital goes to Black founders. Racial equity is inextricably linked to economic opportunity around the world, and that’s why we’ve also announced funding to support Black founders in Brazil and across Europe. We know that hands-on support and connections are necessary elements to any founder’s success. With these funds, we are also committing to growing a relationship that brings these founders the best of Google. 

$2 million for Black founders to build a more equitable future

If we want technology to work for everyone, it needs to be built by everyone. Today, with less than 0.5 percent of venture capital (VC) funding going to Black-led startups, and Black people making upless than 3 percent of the VC community,  Black founders in Europe disproportionately lack access to the networks and capital needed to grow their businesses.

Following Google’s commitment earlier this year to building a more equitable future for everyone, today we’re creating a $2 million Black Founders Fund, which will provide up to $100,000 in equity-free cash awards to selected European startups, paired with up to $220,000 per startup in Google Ad Grants and Cloud credits and support from an experienced Startup Partner Manager.

Google for Startups is also sponsoring The Black Report by 10x10 to begin to address the lack of data and empathy for the challenges Black founders face on their entrepreneurial journeys. The report looks at a sample of London-based early-stage Black founders to gain a better understanding of their companies, backgrounds and the challenges they face in the UK and European ecosystem.

Finally, we awarded Google.org grants to organizations across Europe — including  OneTech and Colorintech — supporting diverse entrepreneurs and working to fix the systemic challenges that lead to racial inequity.

We sat down with Rachael Palmer, Head of VC and Startup Partnerships, EMEA, and Marta Krupinska, Head of Google for Startups UK, to learn more about the initiatives.


Why do we need a more inclusive startup ecosystem?

Rachael: Racial disparity has an adverse effect on everyone and can no longer be ignored. Its damaging effects continue to be reflected in such issues as housing disparities and physical and mental health outcomes, with limited government resources provided to address the root causes.

Marta:  We have a chance to help build a more equitable future, where successful entrepreneurs come from all backgrounds, and their communities can benefit from the long-term job creation and generational wealth that they bring.

We have a chance to help build a more equitable future, where successful entrepreneurs come from all backgrounds

Tell us more about the Black founders currently in the Google for Startups network, your goals for supporting them and what impresses you most about them.

Marta: We want to challenge the false perception that there aren’t many exceptional Black-led startups. For our Black Founders Immersion program alone, we had 155 high quality applications from across Europe and selected 12 brilliant businesses, led by entrepreneurs such as Elizabeth Nyeko (founder of Modularity Grid, technology that will power off-grid rural communities as well as an all-electric spacecraft), Shirley Billot (founder of Kadalys, turning banana waste into organic beauty products), Christian Facey and Wilfrid Obeng (co-founders of Audiomob, non-invasive audio advertising for gaming) and Ivan Beckley (co-founder of Suvera, platform for virtual management of chronic diseases).  

Rachael:  What is so exciting about the Black founders is the caliber of talent we have been able to attract which is a further indicator of the amount of untapped talent out there. There are medical doctors, lawyers, PhDs and other seasoned professionals in multidisciplinary industries that now recognize the opportunity to use their experience and backgrounds to make fundamental change within society.


What is your hope for the future?

Rachael: Our hope is that the entire startup ecosystem will come together and commit to change. Doing so will enable us to support Black founders in a comprehensive way, champion and support Black angel investors, and see more Black General Partners at the most successful VC firms. There’s a long way to go, but I am proud that Google is committed for the long term.

Marta: If we want to solve the inequities we see around us, we all need to do the work and understand our role in the system, empathize with those who are marginalized, and take action to help. Google has the resources to co-create viable, scalable solutions with those most impacted, and we have made the commitment to play our part and continue to learn. 

Interested in our wider offerings for global founders? Explore other Google for Startups places and programs for founders of all backgrounds at startup.google.com. 


Powering economic recovery through retail

Progetto Quid is a small fashion business in Verona, Italy that provides employment opportunities for women coming out of difficult situations. When the company closed its stores during the lockdown, it  started making non-medical masks,  safeguarding its business and the future of its workers. Within two months they’d sold 700,000 masks, using Google Ads to reach their customers. As a result of switching production they were able to retain their entire staff.


This is just one of many stories of resilience we’ve heard from businesses small and large as they look to sustain themselves and support their communities. At Google, we’re helping retailers accelerate recovery with training, tools and insights to help them adapt fast. Through September we ran Accelerating Retail, a month of training and collaboration, directly engaging with more than 7,500 retailers across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and many more in partnership with industry bodies such as HDE in Germany and One to One Monaco in France. Listening to retailers of all types across so many countries has helped us to adapt and develop the products and services that we’re now launching to support economic recovery around the world. 


Helping retailers find more customers with free listings on the Shopping tab 

We’re now making it free for retailers to list their products on the Shopping tab throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Available globally in mid-October, search results on the Shopping tab will consist primarily of free listings, helping retailers to connect with more customers, regardless of whether they advertise on Google. Shoppers will be able to find more products from more stores, just in time for peak shopping season across the region. 


For retailers who already use Google Ads to reach potential customers, free product listings in the Shopping tab are a boost to your paid campaigns. In the U.S., where we launched successfully earlier this year, retailers running free listings and ads got an average of twice as many views and 50 percent more visits. Small and medium-sized businesses saw the biggest increases since the free listings launched there.
Blogpost Phone Close Up - Final 2.gif

If you already use Merchant Center and Shopping ads, you don't have to do anything to take advantage of this change; your listings will automatically show up at no cost. And we are making the onboarding process as easy as possible for retailers who are new to this over the next weeks and months. In Europe, you can also choose any Comparison Shopping Service (CSS) to work with free listings.


Connecting people with trusted local professionals

Many people are shopping locally as they spend more time at home, and searches containing "available near me" have doubled around the world. In the first half of 2020, searches for local services, like home improvement or maintenance, increased by over 25 percent in a year across a  range of European countries.


To help trusted businesses reach local customers, we’re announcing the launch of Local Services Ads in 10 European countries: Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and the UK.


Local Services Ads help people discover and connect with trustworthy local professionals—such as plumbers, house cleaners and electricians—backed by the Google Guaranteebadge. Potential customers can see license information and reviews from previous customers, and they can compare and contact providers. You don’t even need a website to use these ads, and you only pay when contacted by a customer—there’s no charge for people clicking on the ad. People can book services directly with a simple phone call. If you're a platform that's already connecting customers with professionals you can expandyour offering to include Local Services Ads.
GGL UK Google SMB Local Services Combined DE&UK Phone_2 Sep20.png

Local Services Ads in Germany and the UK

Getting small businesses online

An online presence has never been more critical for a business’s success. But, according to 2019 YouGov research, around a third of small businesses in six European countries surveyed don’t even have a website. 


To help small business owners take their first steps online, this month we launched Google for Small Business in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK. It provides personalized plans including guidance on which tools are right for your business. We’ve also recently expanded Grow My Store, which helps local retailers drive customer traffic and improve their online shopping experience, to Germany, France, Netherlands, Sweden and Spain. We plan to roll out both Google for Small Business and Grow My Store to more countries before the end of the year.  


Digital tools and skills have been a lifeline in lockdown. By working together, they can be a catalyst for accelerating recovery —for retailers, their staff, customers, and the wider economy.

Powering economic recovery through retail

Progetto Quid is a small fashion business in Verona, Italy that provides employment opportunities for women coming out of difficult situations. When the company closed its stores during the lockdown, it  started making non-medical masks,  safeguarding its business and the future of its workers. Within two months they’d sold 700,000 masks, using Google Ads to reach their customers. As a result of switching production they were able to retain their entire staff.


This is just one of many stories of resilience we’ve heard from businesses small and large as they look to sustain themselves and support their communities. At Google, we’re helping retailers accelerate recovery with training, tools and insights to help them adapt fast. Through September we ran Accelerating Retail, a month of training and collaboration, directly engaging with more than 7,500 retailers across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and many more in partnership with industry bodies such as HDE in Germany and One to One Monaco in France. Listening to retailers of all types across so many countries has helped us to adapt and develop the products and services that we’re now launching to support economic recovery around the world. 


Helping retailers find more customers with free listings on the Shopping tab 

We’re now making it free for retailers to list their products on the Shopping tab throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Available globally in mid-October, search results on the Shopping tab will consist primarily of free listings, helping retailers to connect with more customers, regardless of whether they advertise on Google. Shoppers will be able to find more products from more stores, just in time for peak shopping season across the region. 


For retailers who already use Google Ads to reach potential customers, free product listings in the Shopping tab are a boost to your paid campaigns. In the U.S., where we launched successfully earlier this year, retailers running free listings and ads got an average of twice as many views and 50 percent more visits. Small and medium-sized businesses saw the biggest increases since the free listings launched there.
Blogpost Phone Close Up - Final 2.gif

If you already use Merchant Center and Shopping ads, you don't have to do anything to take advantage of this change; your listings will automatically show up at no cost. And we are making the onboarding process as easy as possible for retailers who are new to this over the next weeks and months. In Europe, you can also choose any Comparison Shopping Service (CSS) to work with free listings.


Connecting people with trusted local professionals

Many people are shopping locally as they spend more time at home, and searches containing "available near me" have doubled around the world. In the first half of 2020, searches for local services, like home improvement or maintenance, increased by over 25 percent in a year across a  range of European countries.


To help trusted businesses reach local customers, we’re announcing the launch of Local Services Ads in 10 European countries: Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and the UK.


Local Services Ads help people discover and connect with trustworthy local professionals—such as plumbers, house cleaners and electricians—backed by the Google Guaranteebadge. Potential customers can see license information and reviews from previous customers, and they can compare and contact providers. You don’t even need a website to use these ads, and you only pay when contacted by a customer—there’s no charge for people clicking on the ad. People can book services directly with a simple phone call. If you're a platform that's already connecting customers with professionals you can expandyour offering to include Local Services Ads.
GGL UK Google SMB Local Services Combined DE&UK Phone_2 Sep20.png

Local Services Ads in Germany and the UK

Getting small businesses online

An online presence has never been more critical for a business’s success. But, according to 2019 YouGov research, around a third of small businesses in six European countries surveyed don’t even have a website. 


To help small business owners take their first steps online, this month we launched Google for Small Business in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK. It provides personalized plans including guidance on which tools are right for your business. We’ve also recently expanded Grow My Store, which helps local retailers drive customer traffic and improve their online shopping experience, to Germany, France, Netherlands, Sweden and Spain. We plan to roll out both Google for Small Business and Grow My Store to more countries before the end of the year.  


Digital tools and skills have been a lifeline in lockdown. By working together, they can be a catalyst for accelerating recovery —for retailers, their staff, customers, and the wider economy.

What to do now to be ready for this holiday season

As a result of the pandemic, ninety-three percent of small businesses report being disrupted by COVID-19. While the holiday season is always important to many small businesses, we know that this year may be the most important yet. 


For consumers, the holidays are starting early and the way to reach those shoppers is online. Seventy-one percent of U.S. adults said they planned to do more than half of their holiday shopping digitally this year, and those shoppers are open to buying from new retailers, especially local small businesses. 


To help you get ready for the holidays, we created the Google for Small Business holiday hub. On the hub you’ll get personalized recommendations to reach shoppers across Google Search, Shopping and Maps. Here’s a preview of some of the tools and resources that you’ll find on the hub. 

Create a strong digital presence 

Sixty-six percent of people in the U.S. who plan to shop this holiday season said they will shop more at local small businesses. To ensure customers are finding the most up-to-date information about your business on Google, claim your Business Profile. Once you’ve verified your business, you can share information with shoppers, like your store hours and contact information, your current inventory, whether you offer curbside pickup and if you have any welcome offers. Our updated Local Opportunity Finder tool will give you personalized suggestions for making improvements to your Business Profile on Google. And you can now save time by making updates to your Business Profile directly from Google Search and Maps


For retailers, it’s vital that customers have a seamless experience on your website. The Grow My Store tool will analyze your site’s customer experience, show how your site performs relative to others in the same retail category and offer tailored recommendations for improvements. 

Local Opportunity Finder - shows missing phone number

The Local Opportunity Finder tool provides personalized recommendations for improvements to your Business Profile. 

Show up when people are searching for what you offer 

We recently announced that retailers offering ecommerce can list their products for free on Google. This makes what you offer more accessible to the hundreds of millions of people who shop on Google each day, connecting you to more customers. You can get started by either submitting your product feed through Google Merchant Center or by automating your feed setup through platforms that you may already be using to manage your products and inventory: Shopify, WooCommerce or BigCommerce


If you’re a local business looking to attract customers to your store, you can also get your inventory online instantly by connecting to Pointy from Google via a compatible point-of-sale system or by purchasing a Pointy device. Once connected, simply scan your products as normal and the product information will automatically upload to an online catalog called a Pointy Page and to your Business Profile through the See What’s In Store module.


When you’re ready to take the next step to advertise your business online, you can use Google Ads Smart campaigns—our ads product built specifically for small businesses. We've now made it easier for local small businesses who don't have a website to create ads. Smart campaigns will automatically build a landing page with your business phone number, hours, photos and reviews with the information you submitted on your Business Profile.

You can find more tools and tips on our Google for Small Business holiday hub and by tuning in to our October 14th Grow with Google training focused on selling online with ecommerce tools. 

Small business and Australia’s media bargaining code

In what has been an incredibly tough year, Australia’s small and medium businesses have kept our economic engine going—protecting jobs and providing vital services in their communities. 


Throughout this time, we’ve made sure business owners know Google’s tools and services are there to help. Small businesses are using our affordable ad services to advertise where they couldn’t before, and connecting with new customers via free listings on Search and Maps. We’ve also helped businesses operate online through national digital skills training.


As Australia starts to look towards economic recovery, we’re concerned that many of these businesses will be affected by a new law being proposed by the Australian Government—the News Media Bargaining Code—which would put the digital tools they rely on at risk. 


While we don’t oppose a code governing the relationship between digital platforms and news businesses, the current draft code has implications for everyone, not just digital platforms and media businesses. We wanted to explain our concerns and how we believe they can be addressed in a way that works for all businesses.  


How does the code impact small businesses? 


The draft code affects small businesses because it would weaken Google services like Search and YouTube. These services created more than 130 million connections between businesses and potential customers in 2019, and contributed to the $35 billion in benefits we generated for more than 1.3 million businesses across the country. But they rely on Search and YouTube working the same for everyone—so that people can trust that the results they see are useful and authoritative, and businesses know they’re on a level playing field.


Under the draft code, we’d be forced to give some news businesses privileged access to data and information—including about changes to our search algorithms—enabling them to feature more prominently in search results at the expense of other businesses, website owners and creators. 


News GIF

For example, a cafe owner might have made their way to the top spot in Search results for a particular query over time, thanks to popularity, search interest and other signals. But if the draft code became law—giving some publishers an advanced look at algorithm changes—they could potentially take advantage of this and make their web content appear more prominently in search results.


Likewise, if you ran an independent travel website that provides advice to people on how to plan local holidays, you might lose out to a newspaper travel section because they’ve had a sneak peek at changes to how Search works.


That’s an unfair advantage for news businesses. Businesses of all kinds would face an additional hurdle at a time when it’s more important than ever to connect with their customers.

A bad precedent

The draft code would also create a mandatory negotiation and arbitration model that only takes into account the costs and value created by one party—news businesses. The code’s provisions mean costs are uncapped and unquantifiable, and there is no detail on what formula is used to calculate payment.

Regulation framed in this way would set a bad precedent. Most businesses support sensible regulation—but not heavy-handed rules that favour one group of companies over all others.  

Australian entrepreneurs like Mike Cannon-Brooks, Matt Barrie and Daniel Petrie have made the point that a market intervention like this would deter international companies from operating in Australia, risking jobs and investment just as we need to be focusing on the recovery from COVID-19. 

And it’s not just business leaders who’ve spoken out. Over the last few weeks, we’ve heard from a cross-section of Australia’s business community, from local retailers and restaurants to YouTube creators, and we’re deeply grateful for their support.    

The way forward

The issues with the draft code are serious, but we believe they can be worked through in a way that protects full and fair access to Search and YouTube for every Australian business.  

We’ve made it clear that we want to contribute to a strong future for Australian news, and we’re engaging constructively with the Government and the ACCC to try to find a resolution — making proposals for changes that would support a workable code

Throughout 2020, we’ve worked with business owners across Australia to help them get through the challenges of the fires and the pandemic, whether by providing digital tools, direct assistance, skills training or advice, and we hope to continue providing that support long into the future.  

We know how tough this year has been, and we’re going to keep doing everything we can to make sure that the final version of the code supports Australia’s amazing businesses.

Jimmy Fallon and Google support NYC small businesses

These days, nearly all businesses have experienced some sort of disruption to their day-to-day operations, from reduced hours and customer demand to disrupted supply chains. Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, small businesses are finding ways to adapt and support their local communities—especially right here in New York, the city that thousands of Googlers and I call home. And who better to take us for a tour of a few beloved New York spots than “The Tonight Show” host and native New Yorker, Jimmy Fallon?


To kick off National Small Business Week, we teamed up with “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” to visit some of Jimmy’s favorite New York City small businesses. Along the way, he shared ways that you can help out the small businesses near you.

Lakou Cafe.gif

Lakou Cafe in Brooklyn uses its Business Profile on Google to post updates for customers and to show that it offers takeout options, sells gift cards, accepts donations, and more.

Jimmy and “The Tonight Show” introduced us to Sabrina Brockman of Grandchamps and Cassandre Davilmar of Lakou Cafe, the owners of two Brooklyn restaurants in his backyard. Like Jimmy, Cassandre and Sabrina have pitched in over the last couple of months to support World Central Kitchen, a not-for-profit devoted to providing meals for those in need. Together, Sabrina and Cassandre have donated more than 11,000 meals to healthcare workers, first responders, protesters and families in need since May. 


Small business owners like Cassandre are also finding ways to reach customers and keep them informed, using digital tools like their free Business Profile on Google. Lakou Cafe updated their Business Profile with takeout options, and added buttons to sell gift cards and accept donations.


We also joined Jimmy at GupShup, his go-to Indian restaurant, a family-owned spot in Manhattan founded by Jimmy Rizvi. GupShup has partnered with World Central Kitchen to provide nearly 12,000 meals since May to frontline workers and hospitals. Jimmy Fallon reminds us how important it is—and how easy it can be—to support local businesses by giving a rave review (fun fact: he loves GupShup’s Crispy Okra and Guacamole).

YouTube video showing Jimmy Fallon's visit to GupShup in New York City.

You can also book reservations, order take out, post photos, buy gift cards, and more to support your local businesses directly from Google Search and Maps.


Are you a small business owner?

If you own a small business and are looking for free tools and training to grow your business, visit grow.google/smallbusiness


And if you’re a small business based in New York state and don’t have an e-commerce presence yet, Google has partnered with COOP to help 150 qualified New York small businesses set up and promote an e-commerce site in preparation for doing business during the holidays. Application opens Monday, September 28 at the MainStreet ONLINE website.

Why digital tools are a safety net for small businesses

For businesses trying to stay afloat, like Morgan Miller Plumbing in Grandview, Missouri, digital tools are instrumental. While the onset of COVID-19 was full of unknowns, CEO Stella Crewse says it gave her an opportunity to make her business stronger. “This experience has given us the confidence that we will be able to continue operations seamlessly no matter what comes our way,” Stella says.

Stella’s company was already using digital tools when COVID-19 hit, but in recent months has realized how necessary they are. Her team uses G Suite to share documents and stay organized and video conferencing to stay connected. They’ve even used  Google Maps to identify new sewer line paths without leaving the office in order to follow social distancing guidelines. 

A new report, released today by the Connected Commerce Council in partnership with Google, shows how a “digital safety net” can serve as a support system for small businesses like Morgan Miller Plumbing, and helps to mitigate the negative business effects of COVID-19.

According to the report, practically all small businesses—93 percent—were disrupted by the pandemic, facing reduced customer demand and hours of operations as well as employee layoffs. Eighty-five percent of small businesses say COVID–19 made them rethink their approach to digital tools, allowing them to adapt. 

The study also found that businesses that had a digital safety net in place and used a variety of digital tools—like digital ads, digital payments, data analytics and customer insights tools—not only felt better prepared, but also experienced dramatically better business outcomes, expecting less than a quarter of the revenue reduction compared to their digitally unprepared counterparts. And states with a higher share of digitally prepared businesses anticipate better revenue outcomes in 2020.
Drivers business index v. Projected revenue loss SMBs

This research also found that small business leaders of color have been disproportionately impacted by this pandemic and are roughly half as likely as white-run businesses to have received aid through public loans for their business needs. Businesses that have remained open despite a lack of funding attribute their resilience to embracing technology.

The crisis expedited digital momentum for small businesses: Nearly three-in-four increased their use of digital tools, particularly video conferencing, over the last five months. But not all American small- and medium-sized businesses have a digital safety net. To best serve the needs of every business, we’re introducing new Grow with Google lessons, helping business owners learn how to build an online presence, find more customers, sell online or work remotely. The content varies from two-minute tutorial videos to live workshops, and ranges from beginner level to advanced, so every business can find what they need to become more prepared. 

On the Google for Small Business website, business owners can find personalized Google product recommendations for their business, as well as helpful tips and practical guides to help small businesses get the most of these tools. 

And to reach even more small businesses, Grow with Google is partnering with SCORE and the International Downtown Association(iDA)  to complete a series of affordable and easily accessible Grow with Google workshops for 50,000 small businesses across the U.S. We will continue our partnerships with more than 7,500 organizations to bring virtual training events to local communities across the country. 

With this plan, we’re hopeful we’ll be able to help more leaders like Stella acquire the digital skills they need to help their business recover and grow moving forward. 

Google for Startups: Supporting underrepresented leaders

With 99 unicorns (startups valued at over $1B) and $34.3B of startup funding just last year, it’s clear that Europe is filled with talented entrepreneurs who can help solve some of the world’s biggest challenges. This autumn, Google for Startups welcomes two new cohorts of Black and Women founders from across Europe and Israel who are driving change in their industries. 

The founders of these 23 high-potential companies will spend 12 weeks in one of two Immersions: Black Founders or Women Founders, where they’ll have access to the best of Google’s people, products and connections.

If we want technology to work for everyone, it needs to be built by everyone—and that's why we're supporting founders from under-represented groups to help with a faster recovery and better technology and tools for all. Matt Brittin
President, Google Europe, Middle East and Africa
Jewel Burks Solomon speaking at the Black Founders Program.JPG

Jewel Burks Solomon, Head of Google for Startups US and herself a former founder, opened for the Black Founders program

Immersion: Black Founders

The Black Founders Immersion is a 12-week program for high-potential startups with at least one Black founder. The twelve selected startups from the UK, France and the Netherlands will be partnering with experienced Google mentors, specialists and investors to help them grow and give them better access to fundraising opportunities while further advancing their leadership skills.

During the recent opening session, founders had the opportunity to hear from Jewel Burks, Head of Google for Startups US, former Founder & CEO of Partpic, and Managing Partner at Collab Capital.

The 2020 program cohort includes:

Rachael Corson, Co-Founder & Managing Director of Afrocenchix (UK):Vegan beauty brand changing the world of Black hair and beauty by putting the health of their community first.

Christian Facey, Co-Founder & CEO of AudioMob (UK): Enabling game developers to monetize games with non-intrusive audio ads.

Christina Caljé, Co-Founder & CEO of Autheos (NL):Using machine learning to help businesses improve and personalize video content for their consumers.

Tomide Adesanmi, Co-Founder & CEO of Circuit Mind (UK):Building AI software that designs electronics in minutes or even seconds.

Osamudiamen Omoigiade, Co-Founder & CEO of Deep.Meta (UK):Software harnessing production data to create products, limit wastage and cut CO2 emissions.

Shirley Billot, Founder & CEO of Kadalys (FR):Upcycling banana agri-waste into patented organic skincare that gives back to the local community and nature.

Jermaine Craig, Co-Founder & CEO of Kwanda (UK):A solution for nonprofits to finance the development of Black communities with accountability and transparency.

Elizabeth Nyeko, Founder & CEO of Modularity Grid (UK): Equipping low carbon electrical energy providers with AI that combines deep learning with bleeding-edge electronics. 

Charles Sekwalor, Co-Founder & CEO of MoveMeBack (UK):Enabling professionals and organizations to discover and access opportunities and talent anywhere, with a focus on Africa. 

Joel Akwenuke, Co-Founder & CEO of NewFade (UK): Direct-to-consumer hair loss solution, solving hair loss for men safely and effectively.

Richard Robinson, Founder & CEO of Robin AI (UK):Using machine learning and human intelligence to automate the reading and editing of legal contracts.

Ivan Beckley, Co-Founder & CEO of Suvera (UK):Creating a virtual healthcare experience that allows doctors to care for patients with long-term conditions with fewer appointments.

Participants from the 2019 German edition of the Women Founders program.jpg

Participants from the 2019 German edition of the Women Founders program

Immersion: Women Founders

This first pan-European Google for Startups cohort follows the success of Women Founders programs in Germany and the UK. Supported by findings of the Female Founders Monitor, which pointed out particular challenges encountered by women founders, this program will support the 11 companies with unparalleled access to Google specialists, products and connections.

The program kicked off on September 7th with an opening talk by Marta Krupinska, Head of Google for Startups UK, and former Co-Founder of Azimo and FreeUp, and a pitch session where all founders had the opportunity to learn more about each others’ businesses and challenges.

Get to know the cohort:

Blanca Vidal, Co-Founder & CMO of Deplace (Spain):Improving the homebuying and -selling experience, making it more transparent, safe and economical.

Lee Butz, Founder & CEO, District Technology (UK/Germany):Empowering workplaces with a digital platform where users can engage with and have access to the latest news, amenities, community features and more.

Nina Julie Lepique, Co-Founder & CEO, Femtasy (Germany): The first platform for sensual audio content for women, taking a mind-first approach to sexuality based on data-driven research.

Francesca Hodgson, Co-Founder & MD, GoodBox (UK):Changing the world of philanthropy by connecting donors with the causes they care about.

Pavlina Zychova, Co-Founder & CEO, MyStay (Czech Republic):Simplifying hotel management and improving guests’ experience with a digital platform that automates all the guest-hotel interactions, from check-in to customer review.

Sarah Henley, Co-Founder & COO, NextUpComedy (UK):Transforming the market of live comedy by bringing acts to a global audience of comedy fans via high-quality apps. 

Kinga Jentetics, Co-Founder & CEO, Publish Drive (Hungary):The best digital publishing platform to publish, market, and manage royalties for ebooks, print, and audiobooks.

Zahra Shah, Co-Founder & CEO, Seers (UK):The UK's leading privacy & consent management platform to help companies protect themselves and become compliant worldwide.

Maria-Liisa Bruckert, Co-Founder & CMO, SQIN (Germany):Beauty tech company changing the world of beauty retail by creating the world’s number 1 beauty community app.

Yael Shemer, Co-Founder & CEO, Tulu (Israel):Setting up smart rooms in apartment buildings that are filled with household and lifestyle products that can be rented by the hour, day or longer. 

Zuzanna Sielicka Kalczyńska, Co-Founder & CEO, Whisbear (Poland):Helping babies sleep healthier and better by introducing smart solutions and innovation to baby sleep aids. 

For updates on these cohorts and for other Google for Startups news (including applications for future programs), connect with us on social media: Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn.

Being there for Thailand’s small businesses

Around 1.3 million Thai small businesses have been affected by the impact of COVID-19—from clothes manufacturer Chu Su Mo in Chiang Mai, to coffee shops like Hidden Tree Garden in Samut Songkhram. These businesses are often at the heart of their communities, supporting local jobs and services. They’re also critical to the Thai economy as a whole, accounting for more than 90 percent of all businesses in the country. As Thailand rebuilds from the pandemic, we’re focused on supporting its business owners through the economic recovery. 


Digital skills training in a time of need


Today, at our virtual Google for Thailand event, we launched Saphan Digital: a new Grow with Google program to help small businesses and other organisations learn digital skills and make the most of online opportunities. (In Thai, “Saphan” means bridge, and this program is designed to help bridge the digital gap between Thais who know how to use the internet and those that can’t.)
Hidden Tree Cafe inside

While the owners of Hidden Tree Cafe had to close during COVID-19, they kept posting photos of their drinks and desserts on Google My Business — meaning demand was strong as soon as they reopened. 

Throughout the pandemic, we’ve seen the importance of the internet in enabling businesses to continue operating—even if it’s something simple like letting customers know they’re still open, or offering information about online shopping and delivery options. Saphan Digital will equip business owners, NGOs and workers to use digital tools and set up a basic online presence, as well as provide online training courses in business and digital skills—covering topics like e-commerce and creating a digital storefront. After completing the training, people taking part will be able to “pair” with a small business or NGO to apply what they’ve learned.  


The program is a partnership with Thailand’s Ministry of Commerce and backed by local and international businesses, with corporate partners like LnwShop  and BentoWeb providing tools and mentoring.
Saphan Digital logos

Saphan is part of a bigger effort to ensure Thais can use technology with confidence—one we’re expanding to support the country’s coronavirus response. 

Skills and education beyond COVID-19


Existing Google initiatives like Academy Bangkok are now offering online courses for graduates and experienced professionals, while The Asia Foundation’s Go Digital ASEAN program—supported by Google.org—is helping Thai micro-entrepreneurs in 20 provinces who wouldn’t otherwise have access to digital training. For students and teachers, we announced today that we’ll be integrating G Suite for Education into Thailand’s Digital Education Excellence Platform, meaning that all Thai public schools will be able to access Google’s education tools free of charge. 


Our mission in Thailand is to “leave no Thai behind,” as we work with our partners to build a stronger, more inclusive digital economy. With these new initiatives, we’re reaffirming that commitment to this amazing country’s future.