Google sets up in Leeds to give region a boost

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Leeds’s credentials as a digital city was given a major boost with the announcement that internet giant Google will open a “Digital Garage” in the city as part of a nationwide initiative to help small businesses grow.

Google hopes the UK-wide scheme will enable 200,000 British entrepreneurs to achieve their potential through the smart use of technology.

The Leeds Garage, a “pop-up” space based in Leeds Dock, will open its doors on March 30 as part of a six-month pilot initiative.

Businesses are invited to get a digital ‘tune-up’ and participate in masterclasses based on Google’s own expertise.

It is supported by Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls, who said: “It’s really important small businesses here in West Yorkshire can compete in the digital age. So it’s fantastic to see a project like The Digital Garage bringing digital skills to small businesses across our region.

“All the evidence shows that businesses with a strong online presence grow faster and generate new jobs more quickly.”

Eileen Naughton, Google’s managing director for UK and Ireland, said: “While the majority of UK small businesses recognise the importance of having a website and using basic digital tools, less than 30 per cent of SMEs have an effective online presence.

“We want to help jump start the other 70 per cent.”