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Google and Spark announce virtual skills training programme for SMEs

03 Nov 2020

Google and Spark have today announced a joint project aimed at building up the digital skills of New Zealand’s small and medium enterprises (SMEs). 

The entirely virtual programme will run throughout November, and aims to support SMEs that see the necessity in digital transformation but don’t know where to start or need extra support.

Attendees can learn about strategies and tools employed by Google to help their businesses stand out online and provide a buffer against the effects of COVID-19.

The programme will initially only be open to Spark customers, but will eventually open to others.

“In the past year, we have seen a massive shift by consumers from physical to digital channels,” says Spark marketing director Matt Bain.

“This is a big opportunity for many of our SMEs to use what are often cheaper and more effective channels to reach their customers. Spark wants to support them to grab this opportunity. 

“It’s fantastic to have a like-minded partner in Google, who will work alongside us to help remove some of the barriers Kiwi SMEs face when it comes to reaching and serving their customers.”

The program will be run by a team of Google Digital Strategists and focus on three main areas:

Getting businesses online

Insights show many small businesses aren’t aware of the free marketing tools available to them. The programme will therefore prioritise maximising a business profile on Google.

Reaching new customers online

With New Zealand’s economy under increasing pressure, small businesses are being impacted. This module will focus on connecting with customers.

Protecting online presence

When growing a digital presence, it’s important to secure and safeguard the business by staying safe online. This section will be about protecting the website and learning best practices for online safety.
 

“As long time partners, Spark and Google share a common goal of assisting all Kiwis with digital growth and supporting economic recovery,” says Google New Zealand country director Caro Rainsford.

“I’m so pleased that at a time where economic recovery is at the forefront of business strategy, we’re able to reach a broad group of SMEs across New Zealand and continue to share the knowledge, expertise and opportunity afforded through Google’s tools for businesses.” 

Kate Jarrett, owner of Loxy’s Salons in Auckland has participated in similar Google digital skills workshops and said, “The tools I learnt through the Google digital skills workshop were invaluable to my business both pre and post COVID-19. 

“I wondered how I’d fumbled my way through business up until then, and thought of how different things may have been for me had I utilised these tools much earlier in my business journey,” says Jarrett.