Australian SMEs Get A Leg Up From Google

Google

The first event in a series of roadshows run in a joint partnership between the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) and Google has gone down without a hitch in Frankston, Victoria.

Held on March 11 at the Frankston Arts Centre, the two-hour event was designed by the two companies in an attempt to boost the Internet acumen of SMEs in Australia.

SMEs, companies generally comprised of fewer than 200 employees, account for approximately 69 per cent of Australia’s workforce, according to a 2014 report from the Australian Communications and Media Authority. The report also highlights that even though 50 per cent of SMEs connected to the Internet used this connection for seven or more functions such as marketing, research and financial transactions, 24 per cent only performed four or fewer activities online.

With such a high number of SMEs in the country, this means there may be a real opportunity for economic growth through new skills online – a fact not missed by the organisers of the roadshow.

Kate Carnell, CEO of ACCI, is behind the decision, explaining why this particular group can benefit from the sessions when the plan was announced in July 2014.

“It is no secret that small business owners don’t have the time or the resources to learn the ins-and-outs of using the Internet to fullest extent,” she said.

According to the roadshow’s website, the presentations include talks from a local business owner who discuss how the Internet helped them grow business. In Frankston, this was Matt Bebe, co-founder of the Mornington Peninsula Brewery, who explained how the Internet had allowed his company to do what was simply not possible just 10 years ago – attract customers from around Australia.

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The association with Google in this venture means the sessions include information on how to make the most of the search engine’s paid and free products for everything from getting your own company on Google maps to engaging with mobile, cloud technologies and social data analytics. Plus, a certified Google Partner, who will be there to answer questions and help SMEs get started, attends each session.

Ms Carnell further promoted the series of events, saying that the Internet “provides small businesses with the unprecedented ability to reach more customers and achieve greater efficiency in ways that until recently were only available to their larger competitors… This program will give small businesses the information, technology and encouragement they need to move online.”

The roadshow is heading to four more locations over the next few months, allowing more businesses around the country access these helpful tools. The dates and locations are: Dubbo, New South Wales in March; Launceston, Tasmania in April; Sunshine Coast, Queensland in May and Subiaco, Western Australia in June.

Those looking to express interest in attending one of these free events should register at rsvp@acci.asn.au.