Google is to offer free digital master classes this week to businesses in Newcastle, via its Google "Juice Bar" workshop programme.
As part of the Go Digital Newcastle project, business owners and entrepreneurs in the city can meet with Google on 7 March 2014 for advice and tips on using the internet to grow a business online.
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Go Digital Newcastle received a grant of £435,162 from the European Regional Development Fund from 2007 to 2013.
Google’s workshops are part of the giant’s plan to encourage small businesses to grow via the internet and to help business owners gain new e-skills to succeed.
Taking place at Newcastle’s Civic Centre, the Google's Juice Bar aims to advise businesses, whether just starting out and creating their first websites; or improving existing websites and online marketing campaigns.
Nick Forbes, leader of Newcastle City Council, said: “The internet is transforming the way we live our lives, and the smart successful businesses of the future will be those that recognise this.
“This event is therefore a fantastic opportunity for businesses to take advantage of the expertise on offer and learn more about how the internet can help their businesses grow and develop.
“In Newcastle we’re very ambitious about how we can be a real centre of innovation for the new digital age.”
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Female entrepreneurs are particularly encouraged to sign up for the workshops. Chi Onwurah, MP for Newcastle Central said: “Go Digital Newcastle is making that happen. It’s particularly important on International Women’s Day on 8 March 2014 to remember that, by equalising men's and women's economic participation, we could add 10% to the economy by 2030.
“Digital should be an essential part of that - and women, and as many businesses as possible, should take advantage of the expertise on offer from Google.”
YouTube businesswoman and entrepreneur Lauren Luke (pictured), said: “It’s more important than ever to have a digital presence whether you are offering a service or selling goods because consumers are increasingly shopping online.
“The companies succeeding online both understand their target audience and stay true to their brand. They are the ones getting ahead.
"The good news is that starting up your online venture will be worth every penny when you see how global your business can become overnight.”
Dan Cobley, managing director of Google UK, highlighted a recent Boston Consulting Group report which found that small businesses actively using the internet can grow eight times faster than companies with no web presence.
He said: “Our goal is to get businesses of all sizes to understand the importance of the internet and how easy it is to get online and contribute to the overall growth of their enterprise and the local economy.
“We hope that local businesses in and around Newcastle will take advantage of these free digital sessions.”