Why Google loves Groningen

634 days ago

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The Internet is a very big place to do business. Things like improving your visibility and building a reputation online are no easy feats, especially for small and medium sized companies. That’s why Google is lending local businesses a helping hand. Last Monday and Tuesday, over 1600 entrepreneurs flocked to the Sugar Factory for a crash course in all things digital.

After Eindhoven and Nijmegen, the Google Digital Workshop landed in Groningen, giving free workshops on online visibility, analytics, building a reputation, as well as website and financing strategies.

As Google Benelux CEO Pim van der Feltz puts it: “Groningen is already doing really well. Just look at the number of companies listed in the Deloitte Fast50. But there’s also a big group of smaller businesses that are not as savvy, and we want to give them the digital tools to grow as well.”

The right place and the right attitude

Even though the digital workshop may be travelling across the country, Google is here to stay, with their new data center in the Eemshaven. Their decision to build a data center there was based on fundamental factors, like climate, space and infrastructure, but, according to van der Feltz, there was another decisive factor: “The entrepreneurial spirit is very prevalent here. Not just in terms of business, but it extends to knowledge institutes and also the municipal government.”

“And that pro-active and entrepreneurial attitude on all levels was really a decisive factor for us”, van der Feltz continues. “Groningen actively participates, they say what they think and do what they say. And that characteristically Northern no-nonsense attitude, is something Google really appreciates.”

The Digital Workshop is a good example of that pragmatic, can-do attitude. “We’ve had over 1,600 people participating these past two days, the biggest turnout so far. And we also had the first separately organized workshop event for students here.”

But according to van der Feltz, who studied Economics here at the University of Groningen, that typical culture of groundedness shouldn’t stand in the way of future success either: “There’s nothing wrong with communicating your successes. And by doing that collectively, with initiatives such as Founded in Groningen, there’s plenty of opportunities to become even more successful as a region.”

(Photo credit Ronald Zijlstra)


633 days ago

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