Google UK has pledged to support small businesses across the country with a new package of products, tools and services to support the reopening and growth of British retail.
From today, small businesses can sign-up to access the support package through Google, who has committed to helping one million small British businesses stay open after lockdown, by helping them be found online by the end of 2021.
The new Open for Business initiative has been welcomed by the HM Treasury and the department for business, energy and industrial strategy.
It is available to all UK small businesses, and has been designed to particularly help those who rely on in-person interaction, such as small local shops.
It comes as the platform said that “being discoverable online has never been more important”.
It added: “From opening hours to a telephone number listing these small details make big differences in gaining new customers. In fact, 90% of people are more likely to interact with a business if they have a listed phone number.”
Google’s new partnership with Digital Boost will also connect small UK businesses and charities with Google Digital Garage coaches, and google employees will offer 10,000 hours of free one-on-one support and mentoring.
Google My Business will teach owners how to build a strong online profile and attract customers through local listings, as well as teach them how to increase customer sales through social media.
Rishi Sunak, chancellor of the Exchequer, said: “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.”
He added: “We will all play a part in this national effort to get the UK open for business again safely. Google’s initiative to support our smallest firms is a great step forward in getting our economy back on track.”
Ronan Harris, Google managing director UK, said: “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.
“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.”