Google is a growth engine for European business

Last month I got an email from a proud daughter in the UK whose mother Tricia Cusden used Google tools to launch a makeup business called Look Fabulous Forever. She used Search to find suppliers; she built a following using YouTube to show older women makeup tips; and she’s using Google Adwords to find customers online. To date, her YouTube channel has racked up over half-a-million views, and her company now exports products to 24 countries around the world.

Today we are launching an initiative spotlighting hundreds of European entrepreneurs like Tricia who have used Google products as a growth engine for their businesses. We’re also announcing that Google will train 1 million Europeans to learn crucial digital skills by 2016. Not long ago, small businesses could only afford to source and sell locally. Global marketing and distribution were out of reach for all but the biggest. Today, any business can reach a global market using the Internet, allowing even the smallest businesses to be a multinational.

If you have a product or service, Google AdWords can connect your business with potential customers. Take Berto Salotti, a furniture-maker who has shared his story as part of our project. In 2002, after 30 years of production, Berto had six employees based in Meda, Italy, where they sold most of their furniture. Today, after marketing online through Adwords, they’ve quadrupled in both size and revenue and have customers worldwide.

Eumelia is an ecotourism farm and guesthouse based in rural Greece that uses Google tools to reach out to prospective visitors as far away as Japan and Australia. The company’s founder, Frangiskos, said AdWords is “the best way for a small, local business to have global impact.” And Dutch office supply company DiscountOffice said Adwords “levels the playing field”, allowing them “to compete with big multinationals from the beginning.”

But it’s not just online marketing through AdWords that helps businesses grow; YouTube has helped European creators and entrepreneurs attract fans and customers using the power of video. Marie Lopez is like many 19-year-old Parisians. She loves fashion, design and makeup. But what makes Marie different is that she has more than one million people around the world who subscribe to her YouTube channel, EnjoyPhoenix. Having amassed over 120 million views, Marie is now developing her own line of products and working with top brands like L’Oreal. Today, thousands of YouTube channels are making six figures annually and total revenue amongst our YouTubers has grown by 50 percent in each of the last two years.

Google Play is also a huge growth engine for European developers, connecting them to a booming global app economy. Launched in Spain, WePlan is a free Android app that looks at how people use their phones, and recommends the best carriers for their needs. Today it has more than 100,000 users in 24 countries. And WePlan has gone from five to 18 employees in just two years. Last year, Google paid out more than €4.4 billion to developers like WePlan.

We are excited that businesses all around Europe are using the technology we provide as an engine for their growth. To see more of these stories, check out this video:

It’s clear that the opportunities for businesses in the digital age are immense–there are many more ways to reach customers than anyone could have imagined not that long ago. But, for Europe to reach its full potential, we need to clear the way for companies online. We need a single market in the digital world that reflects the single market we enjoy in the physical world already. With over two dozen regulatory and frameworks to contend with, businesses stumble when they seek to sell, grow or hire across borders. The European Commission has rightly identified the digital single market as one of Europe’s top priorities.

Of course, the opportunities afforded by the digital economy are still limited if people don’t have the right skills. At current rates, the EU predicts a shortfall of 900,000 jobs by 2020 due to a lack of digital skills, and there are many businesses that want to get online but don’t know where to start. At Google we’re playing our part. Over the last year we have have helped tens of thousands of German entrepreneurs export through partnerships with DHL, PayPal and Commerzbank. We have trained tens of thousands of young, unemployed people in Spain with free courses on subjects like web development, digital marketing, and ecommerce. And, we have shown thousands of traditional Italian craftspeople how to sell and market their wares online.

But we want to do more. So, today we’ve announced that Google will train 1 million Europeans in crucial digital skills by 2016. We will invest an additional €25M to broaden our current programs and take them to new markets across Europe to train more small businesses on the digital skills they so need. We’ll build a Europe-wide training hub to support businesses anywhere in Europe to get training online.

Some people look at the state of the economy in Europe and are pessimistic. We see something else: a huge diversity of businesses and entrepreneurs with creativity, ambition, and talent — all using digital tools to create jobs and boost the economy.

Posted by Matt Brittin, President, EMEA Business and Operations, Google Continua a leggere

SMEs in the Digital Single Market: Europe’s Growth Engine

From farmers to florists, clockmakers to cheesemakers, accountants to antique shops, the web is powering the growth of small businesses across Europe. Entrepreneurs today find their customers online and export their products and services around the globe thanks to the web. Businesses that use the web intensively grow up to four times faster than those that don’t, creating new jobs and opportunities across all sectors.

On February 26th, together with Digital Europe and the Lisbon Council, we’re hosting an event in Brussels to celebrate the success of small, web-savvy European businesses, and we hope you’ll join us.

At SMEs in the Digital Single Market: Creating Growth in Europe, you can:

  • Meet 20 small business owners from 10 countries that are using the web to get ahead. They’ll explain their journey from bright idea to thriving business – and how Europe’s Digital Single Market will help them grow further and faster.
  • Hear a keynote speech from Matt Brittin, Google’s President, Business and Operations, EMEA, who will outline how every day, small businesses across Europe are using Google’s online tools as a growth engine to help them compete on the global stage
  • Listen to Internet entrepreneurs including the UK’s Look Fabulous Forever, Germany’s Book A Tiger and Sweden’s Happy Socks, who will share their experiences and hopes for Europe’s Digital Single Market in a panel session
  • Debate the policies required to advance Europe’s Digital Single Market with Kristian Hedberg, from Internal Market Commissioner Bienkowska’s cabinet, MEP Eva Paunova and John Higgins, Director-General of Digital Europe.
  • Join us afterwards for a delicious bite of lunch and networking.

A limited number of places are still available, to register, please get in touch via [email protected]

Posted by: Sylwia Giepmans, Senior Policy Analyst, Google Continua a leggere

Spurring Greek tourism

For the past five years, an economic meltdown has plunged Greece into crisis. Amid the the rubble, the country’s economic motor more than ever has become tourism. It now accounts 17% of GDP, and powered by the Internet, is demonstrating, a high potential for growth. Our “Grow Greek Tourism Online” program, launched, in partnership with the Minister of Tourism, the National Tourism Board and the Federation of Tourism Enterprises, allows B&Bs, neighborhood restaurants and even specialty ice cream shops and bars to use the Internet and reach new customers.

The program provides tourism entrepreneurs with digital skills and tools to grow their business during and beyond Greece’s short summer tourism season. About 70 percent of the country’s tourism arrivals take place between June and September. Although Greece’s islands and beaches are delightful in spring and autumn, only about 17 percent of tourists come in May, October and November. “Now, more than ever, it is possible to gradually extend the tourist season. Through web partnerships and the use of innovative tools, we make a further step in this direction,” said Olga Kefalogianni, the Minister of Tourism.

The opportunity is significant: According to recent research by Oxford Economics, an increase in the online activities of the Greek tourism industry can grow Greece’s GDP by 3% and create 100K new jobs.

As a first step, we kicked off the program in Crete (which accounts for 15 percent of the country’s tourism business), hosting events for small and medium sized businesses in the island’s two largest cities, Chania and Heraklion. More than 600 companies participated. Greece’s National Tourism Board EOT launched a campaign for Crete as an autumn tourism destination on their +Page with over 1.4 million followers. “Everyone involved in tourism must take advantage of the web.” said EOT’s General Secretary, Panos Livadas. The President of the Federation of Tourism Enterprises Andreas Andreadis summed up the project best: “That’s a strong bright light which should help power Greece out of its long economic gloom.”

Posted by Dionisis Kolokotsas, Public Policy & Government Relations Manager, Athens
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Happy birthday Campus London. You’ve grown up so fast.

Just over 12 months ago, Campus London opened its doors to the young, upcoming London tech startup community. I’d like to think we always knew it would succeed, but I don’t think any of us expected the level of engagement and enthusiasm we’ve seen in year one.

In just 365 days of operation, Campus now has more than 10,000 members, permanently houses more than 100 young companies and has hosted more than 850 events, attracting more than 60,000 guests through the door. From individual entrepreneurs looking to explore their back-of-a-napkin idea to global venture fund managers, there’s something for everyone in the London tech scene at Campus, and the vibe is electric.

We asked Campus members to provide their feedback and outlook on year one, and their response has been overwhelmingly positive. Campus-based companies are growing and creating jobs. One in four are already looking to find bigger office spaces to house their growing teams. We’ve also seen that the success of the London technology startup community as a whole has mirrored that of Campus.

Campus members are younger than the average Tech City entrepreneur, and with initiatives like [email protected], increasingly more female entrepreneurs are signing up. Campus is also truly international, with 22 nationalities working, interacting and attending the many mentoring sessions and classes we and our Google volunteers run every day.

Looking ahead to the next year and beyond, we’re offering even more: more globally-acclaimed speakers, a new Campus EDU education programme offering mentorship from Googlers, inspirational talks from thought leaders like Guy Kawasaki, Eric Schmidt and Jimmy Wales, and a curriculum of classes to develop the skills young startups need to build successful businesses.

Google started as a two-person startup in a garage in California. We’re looking to provide the best possible garage to our 10,000 members every day. And so far, all indicators show that Campus is one of the most exciting places in the world for technological innovation.

Posted by Eze Vidra, Head of Campus
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Helping French business go online with Google for Pros

The Internet generated more than 700,000 jobs in France between 1995 and 2010, according to a 2011 McKinsey study. Through 2015, McKinsey estimates that the web’s digital contribution will grow to 5.5 percent of GDP, and that 450,000 additional jobs will be created.

In order to help reach – or better yet, surpass these goals – we recently launched a new program called Google pour les Pros. It aims to help 100,000 small French businesses get online by the end of this year.

Google coaches at the Unami Tea House in Lille

Many traditional French businesses continue to hesitate going online, fearing that it will require large investments, lots of time, and fancy skills they lack. Google pour les Pros aims to overcome these hurdles by providing an “on the ground” coach who provides personalised training.

We first tested the Google pour les Pros concept in the south of France. Results were encouraging enough to launch a full-fledged program in the north of France, around the region’s major metropolis Lille. This region has faced a dramatic economic transition, from fading heavy industry to new, modern services.

The 16 Google coaches we are deploying there are young university graduates. In the coming months, they will go from shop to shop, office to office, to propose their services, free of charge. Our partner in this ambitious operation is the Greater Lille’s Chamber of Commerce, which brings together 52,000 businesses. We will deploy coaches in other French regions throughout the year.

As we urge Lille’s bakeries, butchers, and other small businesses to get online, we already can point to success stories such as the Unami tea house. Owner Jean-Benoit Bourel opened an e-commerce site that enables him to export its products to the international market. “Now we sell in Marseille, Italy, Belgium, and in Russia,” he says.

In a time of economic challenges, the Internet can help France regain its economic competitiveness – and its traditional strong small businesses win many new markets.

Posted by Clement Wolf, Communications, France
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