Google is offering 60,000 small businesses in Ireland help to recover from the effects of the pandemic, with a package of free training, advertising credits and grants.
The tech giant said it would provide free training to 40,000 people, concentrating on digital skills, by the end of 2021, with €4 million of advertising credits and grants on offer to small businesses, government agencies and NGOs.
The Grow with Google support package is intended to help businesses learn how to operate online, reaching new customers and selling online, expanding to international markets or learning how to run a team virtually. SMEs will also have access to free tools and training.
"At Google we have always been committed to supporting small businesses and every day I get the opportunity to see the creativity and resilience of Irish SMEs first-hand," said Alice Mansergh, director of small businesses, Google Ireland.
“The pandemic has resulted in some specific challenges for Irish businesses, and we felt Google has the expertise to help. Through our Grow with Google programme, we will help SMEs and NGOs grow their digital skills, empowering them to adapt and operate effectively within the confines of the current environment. Despite the ongoing uncertainty, we want to show that having an online presence can have a transformative impact on offline businesses, not just now, but into the future.”
The programme includes a website that offers access to hundreds of training courses for free, covering everything from getting your business visible online and scaling your business internationally to how to collaborate with your team online.
The initiative was welcomed by lobby group Isme. "The impact of Covid-19 has been severe for businesses across all sectors, and while we know that sentiment among businesses is rising, the future remains uncertain and the coming months will certainly be challenging," said Isme chief executive Neil McDonnell.
“The Grow with Google supports and initiatives announced today will be invaluable for businesses to help them become more resilient as they recover from the coronavirus crisis, and simultaneously prepare for the potential impacts of Brexit.”
The tech company is also partnering with organisations such as the Dublin Chamber of Commerce and the Gaelic Players Association to make additional digital skills training free and easy to access.