May 2, 2018

Columbia, SC – Google continued its Grow with Google tour in Columbia this morning by announcing a sponsorship for Women’s Business Center of South Carolina at Columbia College (The Center) totaling $100,000. The sponsorship will enable the nonprofit to kickstart business-focused digital skills trainings, including Applied Digital Skills and Get Your Business Online, for the estimated 25,000 women-driven firms in the Columbia area and the 152,000 women-driven firms in South Carolina.
"As someone who is committed to finding economic opportunities for all Americans, I appreciate Google's initiative to partner with local communities to help teach valuable lessons to our job seekers and entrepreneurs," said Senator Tim Scott. "It is no surprise Google has selected a South Carolina city as a stop on their 'Grow with Google' Tour. We have a world-class workforce who is excited for the opportunity to enhance important tech skills that will make them more competitive in the job market."
Launched in October 2017, Grow with Google is the tech company’s new initiative to help create economic opportunities for Americans. The project is an extension of Google’s long-standing commitment to making information and technology accessible to everyone, and focuses on bringing even more digital skills and learning opportunities to communities across the United States.
More than 500 jobseekers, local businesses, educators and students filled 701 Whaley. The event featured workshops, one-on-one coaching sessions, and hands-on demos aimed at small businesses, job seekers and non-profit organizations. Topics included job search strategies, presentation skills, search engine optimization, coding basics, online safety and more.
“Columbia College is honored to partner with Google to accelerate the success of women through digital skills training, coaching and applied learning,” said Katherine Swartz Hilton, executive director of The McNair Center for Entrepreneurism and Community Engagement at Columbia College. “This partnership allows us to serve women right here in Columbia through the Women’s Business Center where women entrepreneurs will be united through community and common purpose to add jobs, increase revenue, and achieve economic independence.
“We are excited to support more digital skills trainings for female entrepreneurs across South Carolina” said Tia Bethea, Community Engagement Manager of Grow with Google. “A recent Deloitte study found that women-owned small businesses are more likely to adopt digital tools. We are proud to provide help along the way.”
In addition to its sponsorship of The Center, Google collaborated with a number of local partners for the event including Benedict College, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Midlands, CERRA, Columbia Chamber, Columbia College, Columbia Urban League, EngenuitySC, Fast Forward, Goodwill Industries of Upstate/Midlands SC, IT-oLogy, Midlands Technical College, Richland Library, SOCO, South Carolina Future Minds, South Carolina SBDC, United Way of the Midlands, University of South Carolina Office of Economic Engagement, University of South Carolina - School of Education and the My Carolina Veterans Alumni Council.
Wednesday’s event also featured local entrepreneur, Shennice Cleckley of My Dessert Bar. Cleckley spoke at the event and mentioned that her local business took off because she learned how to optimize her online presence through Google, and turn that presence into customers and revenue.
Americans widely recognize the need for digital skills training, such as those provided by Grow with Google. Google hopes to address these education demands nationwide by supporting the nonprofits, schools, and community organizations that are working hard to ensure more Americans have the skills they need to succeed in an increasingly digital economy.

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