Google for Entrepreneurs goes to San Diego to empower veterans and military families

In addition to all they do for their country overseas, service members are also a markedly entrepreneurial group: although veterans represent only 6% of the U.S. population, they account for an impressive 13.5% of all U.S. small business owners. This entrepreneurial spirit is contributing to business growth around the country, and last week we decided to head down to San Diego to see how Google for Entrepreneurs and Startup Weekend could help.

On August 9, Google for Entrepreneurs, along with the Syracuse University Institute for Veterans and Military Families and Startup Weekend, hosted a series of events focused on giving business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs from the military community the training and tools they need to take advantage of the web to build and grow businesses. More than 200 service members learned about free tools to create a web site, track and measure their web presence and market their product or service.

Engaged and full of pride, the veteran-owned businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs came from across California. Misty Birchall, a Navy veteran and founder of PubCakes, delighted attendees when she gave us a taste of her passion for combining baking and craft beer. Marine Corps sergeant turned organic farmer Colin Archipley brought many participants from Veterans Sustainable Agriculture Training, an entrepreneurial incubator program he founded to help transitioning veterans train for careers in sustainable agriculture. Even the underdogs (and undercats) were well-represented—Precious Paw Prints, an online retailer selling creative pet accessories owned by Marine veteran Kiersten Carlin, shared that small business can win by providing a higher level of quality and service that larger brands cannot.

Over the following weekend, aspiring entrepreneurs from the veterans community attended the local Startup Weekend, where they formed teams to turn their idea ideas into products. By Sunday night, five teams had launched businesses.

Being a successful entrepreneur means having an appetite for risk, an ability to navigate ambiguity and a passion to get things done at all costs; it’s no mystery why such a large number of small businesses are started by veterans or service-disabled veterans. They certainly have what it takes to be entrepreneurs.

You can read more about our recent programs for members of the veterans’ community here.

Supporting entrepreneurship in France at Le Camping

Entrepreneurs all around the world are building technologies that empower their communities and address both local and global audiences. Last week, a team of Googlers from 10 countries gathered in Paris to spend time with entrepreneurs and startups at Le Camping, an accelerator program that’s part of Silicon Sentier, an association focused on supporting promising digital projects in the Ile de France region. We celebrated the results of the first two seasons of the program and welcomed the new startups for season three.

Le Camping’s program selects 12 new startups each season (one season lasts six months). They “camp” in what used to be the facilities of the French Stock Exchange, symbolizing the bridge between the old and the new economy. During this time, the “campers” are coached by 60 mentors, mostly entrepreneurs but also engineers. We’ve been working in partnership with Le Camping for the last two seasons to provide hands-on training and mentorship to the 12 companies in each class.

We’ve already seen great success from the program. Out of the 24 teams from first two seasons, 40 percent of the startups have raised funds, 60 percent have paying clients and all of the startups belong to a strong and reliable community. The program does not take equity in the startups or charge them to take part; all that’s required is vision, passion and the desire to address a global audience.

This is just one of our efforts to support entrepreneurs in France. Last year we also launched Startup Cafe, an online platform which provides access to educational video content from several business schools designed for entrepreneurs, tools to help start a business and, with the help of the Agency for the Creation of Entrepreneurs, a map of public organizations that can help entrepreneurs.

We believe that the Internet and entrepreneurship are key drivers of economic development. A study from the European Commission highlighted that small enterprises are the driver for growth and employment: they generate nearly 70 percent of jobs in Europe and 60 percent of economic value added. McKinsey’s "Impact of Internet on the French economy" reported that when French SMEs use more web technologies, their growth is faster, their operating revenues are higher and their profitability is stronger.

We look forward to continuing to support entrepreneurship in France and are excited to follow the progress of the teams in season three of Le Camping: Home’n’go, Explee, Sketchfab, ForgetBox, Stormz, Fleex, Veezio, JellyNote, Augment, Webshell, Poutsch, Whale Street. Stay tuned!


In Nashville, the sweet sound of entrepreneurship

Nashville and Silicon Valley have a lot in common. They're both filled with smart, creative people building businesses together. Nashville's start-up scene may be less well known, but it's bursting with energy and creativity like the rest of the city, and on April 19, we brought our Google for Entrepreneurs program down to the home of honky tonks to learn more about how we might help out.

Event crowd in our rustic music hall venue.

Google for Entrepreneurs was a full day of sessions exploring topics from how to use Google+ and Youtube to publicize your content, to ads and analytics tools for businesses to our various platforms for developers. The crowd of 430 attendees ranged from tech startups like, which is building a beautiful HTML5 micropublishing app, to ArtistGrowth, which is creating a platform for artists to organize and monetize a music business from their phone. A group of eight enterprising Googlers led conversations on getting your business on the global map, while the Creator’s Freedom Project hosted a panel of local artists discussing how creative people can make a living using today's technology. We closed the day by discussing how music and tech can work together to make the Internet awesome. Then, naturally, it was time to let the live music and beverages flow. For more photos, check out our web album here.

Google panel taking any and all questions.

We’d like to thank all our partners Flo {thinkery}, Entrepreneur Center, Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, Nashville Technology Council and Tennessee Film, Entertainment & Music Commission, as well as Karl Dean, the Mayor of Nashville and Beth Harwell, Speaker of the House (Tenn.) for making this event truly memorable. In one amazing day, we came together to bring the magic of Google to Nashville and made friends with one talented city. We look forward to connecting with more entrepreneurial cities around the country, and the world.

Let’s fill London with startups...

London has become one of the world's great digital capitals. The Internet accounts for eight percent of the U.K. economy and has become, in these days of tough public finances, a welcome engine of economic growth.

We believe there is even more potential for entrepreneurs to energize the Internet economy in the U.K., and to help spur growth, today we’re opening Campus London , a seven story facility in the east London neighborhood known as Tech City. Google began as a startup in a garage. We want to empower the next generation of entrepreneurs to be successful by building and supporting a vibrant startup community. Our goal with Campus is to catalyze the startup ecosystem and build Britain's single largest community of startups under one roof.

The U.K.’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Rt. Hon. George Osborne MP, launched Campus at this morning's official opening. The Chancellor toured the building, meeting some of the entrepreneurs currently making their home in Campus and learning more about their innovations, ranging from fashion trendsetting websites to personalized London leisure guides. He then flipped the switch on a commemorative graffiti plaque.

Campus is a collaboration between Google and partners Central Working, Tech Hub, Seedcamp and Springboard. It will provide startups with workspace in an energizing environment and will also host daily events for and with the community. We will run a regular speaker series, alongside lectures and programing, as well as provide mentorship and training from local Google teams.

Visitors will have access to a cafe and co-working space, complete with high speed wifi. We welcome members of the startup community: entrepreneurs, investors, developers, designers, lawyers, accountants, etc. and hope that this informal, highly concentrated space will lead to chance meetings and interactions that will generate the ideas and partnerships that will drive new, innovative businesses.

The buzz around Campus from within the startup community has meant that today, on day one, Campus is already at 90% capacity, with more than 100 people on site and an additional 4,500 who have signed up online to visit.

We are looking forward to getting to know the community. East London is emerging as a world-leading entrepreneurial hub, and we’re excited to be a part of it. Take a photo tour of Campus here, and if you’d like to learn more, visit us at

Let’s fill this town with startups!

(Cross-posted from the European Public Policy blog)

Providing a springboard for women entrepreneurs in India

Meghana Musunuri was a typical female entrepreneur in India. Born and brought up in Medak, she received a good education and spent time abroad both studying and working. Eventually, she decided to return to India and make a difference in her native country. After teaching in London for more than eight years, Meghana opened the Fountainhead School in Hyderabad in 2009. Meghana was smart, driven and passionate, but like many of her contemporaries in India, she needed guidance on how to use the web to broaden her business and her education mission. To help Meghana and the many other women entrepreneurs like her, we recently launched Women Entrepreneurs on the Web (WEOW).

Women Entrepreneurs on the Web teaches participants how to use web-based technologies to improve and grow their businesses. WEOW is divided into five different units or “circles,” all designed for women entrepreneurs with varied degrees of online presence and expertise. Entrepreneurs at various stages in their startups can enter the program through any of these circles.
  1. Building an online presence: creating a website, a YouTube channel, and a business page on a social network like Google+
  2. Collaborating effectively: tools like Gmail, Calendar and Docs
  3. Connecting with customers: hosting Google+ Hangouts, creating and distributing targeted offers and discounts
  4. Promoting your organization: online product demos, creating viral videos on YouTube, advertising through AdWords and AdSense
  5. Tracking and optimizing your online presence: Google Analytics, Google Alerts, ripples on Google+, the +1 button, webmaster tools
Meghana completed all five circles of the program and today, her school is completely online. She’s hosted several Google+ Hangouts for students and parents from the Fountainhead School’s Google+ page and is also using the page to post news, resources and recaps of in-person workshops. There’s more from Meghana on what she learned from the WEOW program in this video.

Rupa Aurangabadkar, another WEOW participant, recently launched a design company, Colorquill. She’s now working on a series of digital videos that will showcase each step of creating a mural and will distribute them via her YouTube channel. Archana Doshi of Archanas Kitchen has started offering cooking classes online via Google+ Hangouts. She also plans to have guest chefs sign up to offer culinary lessons via her website.

As part of our launch event at Google Hyderabad, Yolanda Mangolini, our head of diversity and inclusion, spent time with 30 women entrepreneurs. During this meet-and-greet, she highlighted company initiatives that focus on female empowerment, like the Google Anita Borg India Memorial Scholarships, Grace Hopper Celebrations and several outreach programs run by the Women@Google employee group. She also talked about our goal to build an organization that reflects its globally diverse users. Watch the highlights in the video below:

For updates on WEOW India, visit our website and YouTube channel. To date, we’ve had more than 300 women sign up for WEOW, and we plan to roll out WEOW to more offices and countries in the future.

Helping entrepreneurs in the Crescent City

I made my first visit to the Gulf Coast as a Red Cross shelter manager six weeks after Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005. What I witnessed there made me believe in the potential for individuals and businesses to come together to rebuild a community devastated by disaster. Every year since, I’ve returned to New Orleans to engage in and lead much of Google’s commitment to the area, which has included the direct use of Google Earth to aid in rescue efforts, search tools to help during the aftermath and many service hours put in by Google volunteers.

Almost seven years later, I find myself amazed at the recovery and revitalization of the entire region, specifically in New Orleans. The city has come to embody a spirit of perseverance and evolved into a model for economic and community redevelopment. In 2010, Google provided $102 million of economic activity for Louisiana businesses, website publishers and nonprofits—and there’s still more work to do. Next week, we’re heading back to NOLA once again, this time to serve as the Premier Partner for the fourth annual New Orleans Entrepreneurship Week (NOEW).

Our support for NOEW is diverse and wide-ranging. Among other activities, we’re providing seed grants to up-and-coming educational entrepreneurs in the Education Entrepreneurship Challenge, as well as hosting “Google 101” (and 201) workshops for entrepreneurs and one-on-one Google Office Hours for small business owners. On Saturday, March 10, we’ll be working with Brad Pitt’s foundation, Make It Right, to help the organization engage with supporters globally during their NOEW charity event. At 8:00pm ET the Make It Right Google+ Page will host a live hangout with Brad Pitt and special guests Ellen DeGeneres, Randy Jackson and Aziz Ansari. Following the hangout, real time updates from the evening will be posted exclusively on the Google+ page, and visitors can view photos, ask questions of celebrity guests and watch videos from the evening.

Our sponsorship of NOEW 2012 is one piece of our ongoing work supporting entrepreneurship in New Orleans. Other support includes bringing a major partner, Startup Weekend, to NOLA as well as increasing Accelerate with Google in the region. We look forward to contributing to the entrepreneurship ecosystem to provide real economic opportunities for the New Orleans community, its people and its businesses.

I look at the week ahead as a celebration of the potential that one person has to make a difference—one volunteer, one business owner, one celebrity, even you. What I know for sure is that this one person is looking forward to returning to a city that has captured her heart through its people, its spirit, its music and ah yes, most definitely the food. Hope to see y’all there soon!