Google has today launched a number of pledges to support British small businesses during the pandemic, as part of a bid to help companies stay open through boosting online performance.
The tech firm said it has set a goal of helping 1m businesses by the end of 2021, particularly focusing on those which rely on in-person interactions such as in the hospitality industry.
Google said it will provide £25m in advertising credits and grants to small businesses, government agencies and non-government organisations (NGOs).
It will also be launching new tools to help companies keep their online presence updated and efficient, such as allowing anyone to report a business as reopened or buy gift cards and make donations.
Supported by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Google will also launch 10,000 hours of free mentoring and training for businesses in partnership with Digital Boost.
Small businesses will be connected with Google Digital Garage coaches and Google employees for one-to-one sessions, teaching skills in marketing, how to improve Google rankings and how to re-organise a business towards a post-pandemic model.
“Local businesses are the lifeblood of our communities. Like millions up and down the country, we want to help small businesses both survive and thrive,” said Ronan Harris, UK managing director at Google.
“Through this programme we’re aiming to upskill SMEs and charities by helping them adapt to operating in a post lockdown environment. Despite the ongoing uncertainty, we want to show that having an online presence can have a transformative impact on offline businesses.”
A separate series of 60-minute webinars has been launched for anyone to sign up to, with topics ranging from livestreaming tips to optimising for remote working.
Similar initiatives have been launched by other tech firms this week. Today Ebay announced a coalition to support charities move towards online retail, while Amazon on Monday launched a small business accelerator programme.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said today: “Our small businesses form the backbone of the British economy, fuelling growth and creating jobs in communities across the country. This has been a difficult time for them, and that’s why I am delighted that today Google have announced this plan to help small businesses recover from the crisis.”