Two years ago at an event in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, CEO Sundar Pichai revealed that Google would invest $1 billion over the next five years in collaboration with nonprofits as a part of Grow with Google, an initiative to help people develop the skills they need to find work or grow their business. In something of a recommitment to that mission, Google.org, Google’s philanthropic arm, today said it would set aside $10 million to extend low-income and minority entrepreneurs starting new businesses access to training and capital.
“Small businesses make a big impact on our communities — creating jobs, treating customers like family, and often defining what makes a town unique,” wrote Google Small Business Ads product manager Kim Spalding in a blog post earlier this year. “Google is committed to helping these businesses use the power of the web to grow and thrive.”
A $2 million portion of the commitment will go to the American Library Association (ALA) to create entrepreneurship hubs at libraries in 10 states. The goal, Google says, is to support partnerships with community-based organizations and test models that furnish underprivileged business creators with needed resources.
In a press release announcing the pledge, Google revealed that Google Search interest in “mom and pop shops” hit a three-year high recently; that there’s 350 times greater search volume for nearby local business than a decade ago; and that interest in “local shops” hit a record high last year. The Mountain View company also says it drives over a billion customer connections for businesses worldwide. And in its recent U.S. Economic Impact Report, Google claims its search and advertising tools helped create $335 billion in economic activity for millions of businesses, website publishers, and nonprofits in the U.S. last year.
As part of Grow with Google and its other ongoing commitments to fostering entrepreneurship across the country, Google in 2016 funded the nonprofit CODE2040 program, which sought to create more opportunities for African American and Latino entrepreneurs outside of Silicon Valley. More recently, Google launched Google Primer, which uses five-minute interactive lessons to teach digital marketing and business skills to owners of small and mid-sized businesses, startups, and job seekers.
Online education startup Udacity in 2018 partnered with Google to make a dozen career courses freely available to recent graduates and mid-career professionals, and Google separately teamed up with Coursera to launch a new program to train IT support professionals. Last year, the tech giant added filters and features to Google Maps and Cloud Talent Solution, an AI-powered job search platform, to better match veterans with jobs and help Google Search users find veteran-owned businesses. And in June, Google debuted Google for Small Business, a web portal designed to make it easier for entrepreneurs to find business tools and services.