Google offers digital training and supports to 60,000 Irish SMEs

The Grow with Google digital skills initiative aims to help Irish SMEs adapt by learning how to operate online.

Today (24 August), Google announced plans to help support 60,000 SMEs in Ireland as they recover from financial difficulties caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, with a package of tools, supports, partnerships and funding.

The Grow with Google scheme aims to enable businesses to adapt and thrive by learning how to operate online. This could mean reaching new customers online, selling online for the first time, expanding to international markets or learning how to run a team virtually.

SMEs working with Google will have access to free tools and training, and there will be €4m in advertising credits and grants for NGOs.

‘Leverage the opportunity’

The announcement has been welcomed by Irish SME representative groups ISME and SME Recovery Ireland. Neil McDonnell, CEO of ISME, encouraged small businesses in Ireland to take advantage of the services that the tech giant is offering.

“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,” he said.

“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.

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“We are encouraging all SMEs to leverage the opportunity to engage with Google now to gain new, vital skills and insights that will stand to them not only now, but into the future.”

Grow with Google

Through the Grow with Google website, businesses can access hundreds of training courses for free, covering topics such as how to make a business visible online, how to scale your business internationally, and how to collaborate with your team online.

More than 8,000 Irish people have already used the programme to improve their digital skills and Google said it is committing to providing its services to an additional 40,000 people by the end of 2021.

Google is also partnering with Irish organisations such as the Dublin Chamber of Commerce and the Gaelic Players Association to make additional digital skills training free and easy to access for Irish businesses.

Alice Mansergh, director of small businesses at Google Ireland, said: “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.

“However, 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.”

Updated, 1.10pm, 24 August 2020: A previous version of this article said there would be advertising credits and grants from NGOs. This was updated to clarify that there would be credits and grants for NGOs.