Almost 100 Colorado Springs small business owners are learning to get their companies online today, in a free workshop hosted by Google in partnership with Gov. John Hickenlooper and Mayor John Suthers.

The hands-on workshop, at The Antlers, A Wyndham Hotel, aims to help small businesses connect with customers and expand Colorado Springs’ economy.

“As key drivers of our economy, it’s imperative that these businesses connect with potential online customers,” said Gerardo Interiano, public affairs manager at Google.

“Since four out of five individuals search for goods and services online, we are here to work with small business owners to improve their web presence and better promote their services.”

At the Get Your Business Online workshop, Springs business owners learned to get their businesses on Google Search and Maps for free and promote their business with a free website and advertising.

According to a 2016 report by business research firm Clutch, 47 percent of U.S. small businesses don’t have a website and only 37 percent have claimed or updated their business information on a search engine.

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Small businesses that take full advantage of the Internet are three times more likely to create new jobs and experience revenue growth that’s nearly four times as high as the previous year, according to the news release for the workshop.

“What’s best about having your business online is the ability to live — and work — anywhere in the state,”Hickenlooper said.

Small business owners are the backbone of our communities, he added, and programs like Get Your Business Online give businesses “the chance to not only grow, but thrive, thanks to a strong online presence.”

Get Your Business Online workshops have been held all over the country for five years, but this is the first time one has been held in the Springs.

“Google wants to help small businesses expand their reach online and support them as they continue to grow and shape the economy here in Colorado [Springs],” said Emily Harris, program manager of small business outreach for Google. “This program makes it fast, easy and free for businesses to get online.”

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