Google Canada hosted a packed event in Toronto yesterday, to announce that they will be offering free websites and .ca web domains for a year for all Canadian small businesses. The event was hosted by Kevin O’Leary from the Dragon’s Den and streamed live across Canada online.
O’Leary played the role of David Letterman and even had his own desk with leather couches for his guests. He opened the live webcast by talking about the fact that “small business owners are the rock stars of our economy.” He also emphasized the need for businesses like Google to support small business owners as there is “no greater resource available to them than the Internet.”
O’Leary’s first guest on the webcast was Chris O’Neill, Google Canada’s Country Director. O’Neill said that “there is a huge gap in Canada between where consumers spend their time and where small businesses are and not having a website today is like not having a phone number.”
According to a recent Google study, just less than half of the roughly 2 million small businesses in Canada don’t have a website. Chris O’Neill said that “technophobia and costs are the biggest barriers.” Google’s offer for free websites and .ca web domains for small business owners is a step towards making it cheaper and easier for small businesses to get online.
The Google initiative is supported by a number of Canadian partners who are also focused on helping small businesses to thrive. Representatives from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, CIRA, RBC, Rogers, Silver Lining and The Globe and Mail were all guests on Kevin O’Leary’s live webcast last night.
For more information about the Google “Canada Get Your Business Online” initiative, visit www.gybo.ca.
For fun, here is Kevin O’Leary’s “Top ten list of advantages for running your own business” from yesterday’s live event:
10 - Working from home = working in your underwear
09 - You get to use a 'World's Best Boss' coffee mug
08 - The decision on which motivational poster to hang on the wall is all yours baby!
07 - Those free danishes you get at breakfast conferences
06 - Getting to use cool phrases like "hold all my calls"
05 - You're one step closer to being able to host your own version of Celebrity Apprentice
04 - When it comes to company parties, you have the final say on the flavour of the ice cream
03 - The title "CEO' is ballin'
02 - You can stay out late and party with "clients" and write it off as an expense
01 - Awesome parking spot