Going digital has huge benefits. For one, it allows businesses to interact with their customers through a website. And two, it helps businesses cut across geographic boundaries to find new markets. Google was in Goa to help Goan SMEs go digital. KARAN SEHGAL spoke to Shalini Girish, director, Marketing Solutions, Google about its plans
Q: Google has taken a lot of initiatives to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in India. What do you bring for SMEs in Goa? rShalini: The primary goal today is to educate SMEs in Goa about the advantages of adopting digital for their businesses and also recognising some of the reasons as to why these businesses are not coming online. r There are around 100,000 SMEs in Goa. Little over 8,000 of them have a domain. Very small percentage of them have a website. The situation in Goa is not better off or worse off in rest of India, as there are 51 million SMEs in India. Less than 6% of them have a website. We, at Google, aim to start training SMEs to go digital in Goa. rrQ: Is it all a part of ‘Digital Unlocked’ programme Google has for SMEs in India? rShalini: I will come to that. There are several areas under which we will provide help to SMEs like giving them access to training and tools and raising access to tools. Tools are already there, but we will increase awareness about tools. We are hoping to launch series of training called ‘Digital Unlocked’. ‘Digital Unlocked’ comes in multiple formats. You can learn online through our website.rrQ: How will tools help SMEs? rShalini: In our research, we found that SMEs don’t come online because they lack technical knowledge and they find building website complex, expensive. Besides, it takes time. We wanted to simplify the entire journey for them. The tool which is extremely helpful to a SME starting its digital journey is ‘Google My Business’. It creates a high quality listing, where they can put their hours of operations, add customer reviews, put directions to their establishments, among many other things. This listing can be created free and is available on Google Search and Google Maps. Most consumers in Goa are on internet. If a business is on internet, then it can connect with consumers.