How Tech Biggies Plan to Help Small Businesses
Today, not only the governments, but even the top tech companies have realized that the growth of smaller businesses is extremely important for a healthy business environment and economic development.
With this view, tech majors are taking various steps to help smaller outfits grow despite the persisting recession. Look at Google. The Web behemoth has launched California Get Your Business Online, a program that offers California small businesses free websites and online training. Google made this announcement Thursday, March 1.
The company is working with small business groups across the state to help drive economic growth by giving California businesses the tools and resources to establish a website, find new customers, and grow their business.[ Also Read: U.S. Small Business Owners Dismiss Hiring Incentives ]
California Get Your Business Online is an easy and fast way for California businesses to get online. For the next year, participating California businesses can go to www.CaliforniaGetOnline.com to get a free website as well as free tools, training and resources to help their business succeed online.
Earlier, IBM announced that it will provide $1 billion in financing to help credit-qualified small and medium businesses (SMBs) take advantage of a new suite of advanced technologies such as analytics and cloud.
This effort is designed to help SMBs spur innovation and drive economic growth by making credit more easily accessible, with approvals often in less than 60 seconds, through IBM Global Financing. (Read: IBM to Provide $1 Billion in Financing to SMBs)
And online social network Facebook, the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce announced plans to help American small businesses grow and create jobs.
The joint effort is designed to help small businesses acquire and retain customers, build a community around their business, and reach new customers among Facebook users – claimed to be 800 million. (Read: Facebook’s $10 Million Ads Offer to Small Businesses)
Moreover, Microsoft released WebMatrix, a free Web development tool. It is designed to help website developers of all skill levels easily create, customize and publish websites to the Internet. (Read: Free Microsoft Tool to Help You Make Your Website)
Now, Google is partnering with Intuit to provide its Intuit Websites offerings for free including an easy-to-build website, a customized domain name and web-hosting for one year.
While 97% of Americans look online for local products and services, just 38% of California small businesses have a website. In addition to the online forum for small businesses, Google will host several free training seminars across the state to connect small business owners directly with web professionals in person.[ Also Read: Mobile Technology: Solution or Struggle for Small Businesses? ]
The seminars will instruct participants how to build a website and how to grow and promote their business online. The free seminars will be held March 12 and 13 in Los Angeles, March 14 in Irvine, March 15 in Bakersfield, and March 16 in Sacramento.
“There is a perception that getting online is hard, that it’s expensive and time-consuming,” said Scott Levitan, Google’s director of small business engagement. “As a company with roots in California, we want to make it fast, easy and free for any business in the state to get online.”
Along with national partner SCORE, several California business organizations are partnering with Google on the project including the National Federation of Independent Business/California, the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, the California Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce, and the Latin Business Association.
Photo courtesy: Google
Google is also doing this in Nigeria with the ‘Get Nigerian Businesses Online’ initiative. They are partnering with Ecobank (a pan-African bank) and MTN (a pan-African telco).