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Google and Spark offer free digital skills programme for Kiwi SMEs

Listen up small to medium enterprises, Google and Spark have teamed up to deliver a no-cost digital skills training programme for Kiwis eager to get their businesses online.

Fully virtual and running throughout November, the programme aims to support the SMEs that see a clear need to digitise in order to operate more productively and continue to thrive, but either don’t know where to start or need some extra support for along the way.

Spark marketing director, Matt Bain, says the past year has shown many consumers shift from physical to digital channels which is a big opportunity for many SME’s to use cheaper and more effective ways to reach their customers.

“Spark wants to support them to grab this opportunity,” he says.

“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.”

Hosted through the Spark Lab, the training will initially only be available to Spark customers, however, the intention is to open it up more widely over time. A survey of Spark SME customers that occurred during October revealed that while there is an attraction for digital upskilling by Kiwi SMEs, knowing where to start can sometimes pose a challenge.

Businesses involved in the programme will learn about various strategies and Google tools that will help their businesses stand out online. The aim of the training is to further safeguard Kiwi businesses against the effects of Covid-19 by helping them be more productive in an uncertain economy.

Auckland salon owner Kate Jarret says the tools she learnt from participating in the programme were invaluable to her business ‘Loxy’s Salons’ both pre and post Covid.

“I was amazed to learn that these tools and insights were available to me and so many of them at no cost too. 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. In the constantly evolving and often uncertain world of business, I feel at ease knowing I have these Google tools at my disposal to pivot quickly and stay one step ahead.”

It is Spark and Google’s shared common goal of assisting Kiwis with digital growth and supporting the economy that led to the creation of the programme says Google NZ 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.” 

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