I grew up in Athens, Georgia where my parents worked for over 22 years in a local family owned fish bait business. As a child, I remember how close everyone in the company was, attending birthday parties and family barbecues, which turned us into a real extended family. This small company created a sense of community for us, and it also helped us pay our bills, buy a house, and fund my education as a first-generation college student.
In Athens, small business is not only the backbone of the economy, but also what makes the community vibrant. And that’s true in almost every other town and city in the country. In the US, more than 33 million small businesses create two-thirds of new jobs and account for 44% of economic activity. Owning a small business is rewarding but also challenging. Small business owners also have to deal with finding new customers, maintaining operations, increasing costs and keeping up with the latest technology. That’s why I’m so proud to work on the Grow with Google Digital Coaches program, which connects small businesses across the country with local marketing experts and entrepreneurs who provide hands-on coaching and hands-on training to help them grow. Digital Coaches are successful business leaders from the communities they serve who help local entrepreneurs achieve their goals.
Today, we’re announcing the addition of ten new digital coaches in Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia. Trained in partnership with Main Street America, these new coaches will work with businesses in their home states, focusing on those operating in small towns and rural communities. Digital Coaches will offer ongoing workshops on topics designed to help small businesses grow and prosper, including customer engagement, online sales, and increased productivity, all free of charge.