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Experience Maine Portland, Maine

Digital tools create opportunities for American businesses. Google is helping.


The COVID-19 pandemic has altered the way we live and work, and disrupted how businesses across America operate – with small businesses hit the hardest. Yet, in the midst of these challenges, business owners are demonstrating incredible resolve and entrepreneurship, and embracing digital tools to reach customers and serve their communities. My parents were small business owners, so I have seen firsthand the entrepreneurial spirit and ingenuity of these hard-working Americans in the face of immense obstacles. For many this year, that meant turning to digital tools to grow. In fact, nearly a third of small business owners say that without digital tools, they would have had to close all or part of their business during the COVID-19 crisis.5  

At Google, we have always been committed to supporting the success of small businesses, and that includes helping them adapt to the changing environment. At the start of the pandemic, we announced $340 million in Google Ads credits to help small businesses globally reach their customers. We also introduced new innovations for Business Profiles on Google, so Dania, Manny, and Ana’s family-owned restaurant, Havana Carolina, could update its service options to online ordering, curbside pickup, and no-contact delivery. As consumers increasingly shop online, we made it free for merchants to sell on Google, and highlighted features like fast and free shipping in Google Ads to help small businesses across the U.S. connect with even more customers outside of their neighborhoods.

We know that underrepresented small business owners face challenges in getting access to capital. To support, we announced the Grow with Google Small Business Fund in partnership with Opportunity Finance Network. This $180 million fund provides low-interest loans and Google.org grants for communities often overlooked by mainstream financial institutions. We also expanded our Grow with Google Digital Coaches program, which hosts free virtual workshops to help Black- and Latino-owned businesses reach more customers. Through these events, we’ve met business owners like Maisha and Allyson, co-founders of the Washington, D.C.-based coworking startup, WorkChew, who took digital skills classes from our D.C. Digital Coach and learned how to use products like Google Analytics and Google Ads campaigns to increase their member sign-ups.

Over 70 percent of U.S. small businesses have increased their use of digital tools during the COVID-19 crisis6, and we are proud that our products have helped so many. And when U.S. businesses use digital tools, their communities benefit, too. In 2020, Google Search, Google Play, YouTube, and Google advertising products helped provide more than $426 billion of economic activity for 2 million U.S. businesses, nonprofits, publishers, creators, and developers.

The businesses, startups, and creators featured in this report come from diverse backgrounds, run unique organizations, and have compelling individual stories. But one thing that connects them all is their resilience and entrepreneurship in the face of adversity and change. I see the same determination in these business owners as I did in my parents, and their stories are the reason I am so proud to do this work.

Mary Ellen Coe profile Picture
Mary Ellen Coe signature image
Vice President, Google Customer Solutions

Investing in local communities

America is the place we call home. Google employs over 84,000 people full-time throughout the U.S. We’re proud to have offices and data centers in 26 states, and we’re committed to being good neighbors in the cities where we live and work.

Our commitments to racial equity

Systemic inequities have left people of color disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. Black-, Latino-, and American Indian-led businesses are only half as likely as white-run businesses to have received financial aid7, so Google has partnered with community institutions to provide capital and digital skills training to support their economic recovery.

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