Google hosted an event today in Brussels for small businesses, European Commission officials, European parliamentarians and business associations. The focus was on discussing how the Internet can drive growth and jobs, according to the company.
I wonder if there was any focus on convincing the Commission that Google is not anticompetitive.
Google communications manager Al Verney recaps:
“I think of the third industrial revolution – information technologies are at its heart,” the Commissioner is quoted as saying. Instead of “destroying” jobs, he insisted that it powers employment, saying that for each position displaced, the Internet creates another 2.6 new positions. Companies with websites grow twice as fast as companies that stay offline, he added. “Our goal is to double the amount of commerce online by 2015,” Tajani said. “We need exponential growth” to get Europe out of its present economic crisis.
Our own European Vice President Matt Brittin announced a new collaboration between the Lisbon Council and Google. In some countries, Matt noted, the Internet already generates more than 7% of GDP – a figure that is set to grow rapidly – with much of the growth coming from small companies. “SMEs are the unsung heroes of the economy,” he said. “But the internet can give them a voice.” In order to prove the point, we assembled small business owners from 15 countries, including a Polish butcher, a Swedish sweet shop, a Dutch clog seller, a Spanish baby clothes retailer, and a Greek travel agent. All power their businesses by leveraging the Internet.
The focus of the event then turned to the platforms (generally large companies) that support online commerce. Martin Tidell, Telenor’s Head of Business Management for SMEs, joined by Google+ hangout from Stockholm and said that the Internet is not just for high tech businesses. “I cannot think of one business that wouldn’t benefit by going online,” he said.
A handful of small businesses shared experiences about growing online and selling.
Based on Verney’s recap, the main takeaway appears to have been that there is a lot of opportunity for businesses on the Internet, and that opportunity is growing.