Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL) is pledging $10 million to help small businesses in underserved communities. The first part of the initiative involves $2 million to the American Library Association (ALA) to bolster entrepreneur centers in 10 states.
Small Business Trends spoke with Kim Spalding, Global Product Director of Small Business Ads at Google to find out more.
Google Is Helping Small Businesses
“When I talk to small business owners about what they need from Google and digital marketing, I hear the same thing,” she said. “They never have enough time for everything they need to do.”
Part of what sparked this new SMB push was Google releasing new search trends. Numbers from the data showed a three-year high in “mom and pop” ( small business) searches. As well searches using terms like “local and near me” were up 350 times over a decade ago.
The data even showed a record high last year for terms like “local shops.”
The ongoing rise in mobile shopping is another factor as more and more consumers use these devices to shop. Still Spalding points to a break in what could otherwise be a successful digital chain for SMB’s.
“Only 51% of small businesses in the US have a website. This is really a missed opportunity for them to establish a digital presence.”
She went on to say that even the entrepreneurs that know they need a web presence don’t always know how to get started. Google has several tools to help like Search, Google Ads and Grow with Google.
The new initiative is another arrow in that quiver. It will focus on low income and underrepresented entrepreneurs. Libraries will reach out to community organizations, test new tools to support local entrepreneurs and track how they work.
Spalding explained the link between libraries and this kind of help.
“Ninety six percent of the US population is served by libraries,” she says. “That means we get a really broad reach. What’s more, a large percentage of those libraries already have a small business center.”
Here’s some information on the resources they provide for job seekers.
“ All of this makes libraries an excellent way to reach small businesses across the US and to specifically focus on low income and minority groups.”
The idea is to provide support to these small business centers with resources, information and coaching. For example, getting access to capital can be very challenging for low income entrepreneurs. The new initiative will help with that and also be helpful in sorting through all the current business trends.
Local Target Market
The Google commitment is at least partially designed to allow these entrepreneurs to connect with their local target market by leveraging the digital world. In a real way it’s all about using the Internet to help folks close to home.
Spalding offers up some numbers on how that works.
“What I find really inspiring is for every dollar you and I spend at a local business, 67 cents stays in the community,” she says.
This new push is an innovative way of helping local small businesses and especially those in low income communities. This commitment isn’t the first time Google has put some wind behind small business sales recently.
In June, Google for Small Business went live. It’s a website that offers help for small businesses getting started.
There’s no word yet on how the rest of the $10 million will be spent.
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I attended a Grow With Google event in my town about a year ago. It was very well done and a good opportunity for businesses to work on their GMB listings and get them verified. I’m glad Google is making these efforts.
I often search for what’s “near me”, so good. It would be spectacular if Google partners with the special “SIBL” library here in Manhattan. It stands for science, industry and business, and like I like to tell people, there’s no place on earth like the SIBL library — it’s utterly fabulous and huge. A real gem.