Google launches MSME Caravan campaign to digitize small businesses nationwide Eunice Isobel Lee February 26, 2020 Features, Tech Today, Google Philippines today launched the MSME Caravan campaign under the Grow with Google program which aims to teach micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) digital skills and introduce tools that can help them become more competitive, grow their business, and grab the opportunities of the online economy. In partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the MSME Caravan will tour nationwide throughout 2020 to conduct training sessions among MSME owners so they can be abreast of the digital landscape, latest consumer insights, and tools such as Google My Business and the Primer app which can help create a positive impact in their business. According to DTI, 99.52% of establishments in the Philippines are MSMEs which employ 63% of the local workforce and are responsible for generating 25% of the nation’s total export revenue. However, only about 1% of these establishments have gone fully online, with a lot of businesses still operating traditionally. The series of workshops already started, training more than 2,780 MSME owners in over 20 cities across eight regions nationwide. Google and DTI hope to reach 100,000 businesses this year. “Filipino MSMEs have the drive, the passion, and the dedication to succeed. Combine that with the new tools and opportunities of the internet, and there is no limit on what’s possible for them! We hope that the MSME Caravan will help bring on board more trainees, visit more communities, and give more business owners the digital skills they need,” said Bernadette Nacario, Country Director of Google Philippines. A World of Opportunities In this highly digitized era, businesses need to adapt to the new technology in order to succeed. For example, online presence has now become an important thing to have. Google reports that searches for products, stores, and services “near me” have increased by 2.5 times in the last 3 years from 2017 to 2019. With people relying on technology to lead them to stores, to their next meal, and so on, businesses have to put themselves on the map (quite literally) to be seen by their customer. Thus, the MSME Caravan was born. It aims to train business owners on how they can be listed on Google My Business so they can be discovered by consumers searching online. Google has created free tools in order to help business owners scale and grow their business. First, Google My Business is a free online listing on Google Maps and Search to help MSMEs connect with more consumers in the digital space. It also helps businesses build their online presence, control their business information, and create a free website and posts. It has bookings, direct contact, reviews and Q&A pages, as well as an insights feature which helps businesses understand their customers better. There’s also a free mobile app, Primer, which teaches users business skills in easy-to-understand 5-minute snippets. It is available for download on the Google Play or App Store. To showcase how the MSME Caravan has helped local entrepreneurs, three thriving business owners—Michelle Mariano of Qmansi, Gerome Panlilo of Germano’s Chili, and Beltran Almendral of Anito’s Dried Pork—were invited to share their experience in digitizing their businesses and how going online has impacted it. (LR) Gerome Panlilo of Germano’s Chili, Michelle Mariano of Qmansi, and Beltran Almendral of Anito’s Dried Pork Each of them talked about how going online has helped connect their products and their business to a much wider audience—both local and international. The MSME Caravan and Google’s free digital tools helps enable all aspiring business owner to reach their dreams. Get listed on Google My Business to connect to more consumers online. Boost your digital marketing skills today through the Primer app. To join the MSME Caravan, inquire with the Negosyo Center near your area.