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Google helping Lowcountry small businesses get online

CHARLESTON, SC -

Lowcountry small businesses got a little free help from Google Thursday. More than 80 "Googlers" from around the world joined the Black Googler Network to help local companies get online and get mobile.

Attendees gathered at Memminger Auditorium in downtown Charleston for the “Let's Put Charleston on the Map” workshop, the first of a series of events on coding, YouTube, and Google careers that are scheduled through Saturday.

Nearly 40% of businesses in South Carolina are not online, according to a study conducted by the Black Googler Network. However, 97% of people search online for services and products. Google's work in the Lowcountry this week are part of efforts to bridge that gap.

"Here today we’re teaching folks about the importance of getting online and the importance of getting their business on the map," Lilyn Hester, of the Black Googlers Network, said. The small business workshop had a class dedicated to Google Ad words, the ad product for Google, as well as other tools such as search engine optimization.

In addition, the Google team emphasized the importance of digital mapping.

Consumers are using mobile devices to find destinations such as restaurants or other establishments, Hester said. If businesses are not online, they aren't going to be found easily.

"Our hope today is folks will be found and be prosperous," Hester said, as having an online presence can also affect a business’ bottom line. Attendees received one-on-one training with a Google buddy throughout the workshop and also received a free website for their participation.

More than 80 “Googlers” came to Charleston to assist with the event, many traveling as far as Dublin or Nigeria.

Meeting “Googlers” from across the globe was a special highlight for attendee Kat Ponds. The best part?

"Having the minds of innovators," Ponds said. "People who think outside the box come together and [are] a big melting pot." Ponds planned to take workshop ideas back to her group at Joseph Community Center. "So we can be innovators as well," she added.

Community events on Thursday, Friday and Saturday are free and open to the public. 

Registration can be found at www.bgnsc.info

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