WisBusiness: Milwaukee Google event provides launch pad for Wisconsin businesses

By Laurie Arndt

For WisBusiness.com

MILWAUKEE — More than 500 Wisconsin businesses streamed into the state’s first Google “Get Your Business Online” event in the Third Ward this week.

The two-day event was designed to help small businesses establish an online presence with expert help. That’s important in Wisconsin, with statistics showing almost half of Wisconsin businesses lacking that online presence.

“Small businesses represent the backbone of Wisconsin commerce, and Wisconsin Get Your Business Online offers a great [chance] for the state’s businesses to take that next step in reaching new customers throughout the state and beyond with an online presence,” said Andy Berndt, a Wisconsin native and director of Google’s Creative Lab. “This was a unique opportunity for all Wisconsin businesses, regardless of their geographical location, to draw on the assistance of Google experts to get up and running online … for free.”

Even if you missed the event, you can get into the program here.

Google and numerous national and statewide partners hosted the walk-in event on Monday and Tuesday. Statewide partners included WisBusiness.com, the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, Wisconsin Technology Council, Wisconsin Restaurant Association, Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce and the Wisconsin Small Business Development Network.

The event assisted business people in learning how to set up their own website, run a business online and enhance their efforts through search engine optimization and web advertising options. Attendees had the option of attending a series of classes or working one-on-one with Google and Intuit experts.

Attendees ranged from entrepreneurs looking to establish a web site to existing businesses interested in starting over or improving their online presence. Most attendees were representatives from small businesses who either lacked the resources or knowledge to build a web site on their own.

Attendees also were given a free business listing on Google Places, an introduction to web building software and free website hosting for one year.

Google has introduced this program in eight states nationwide and 13 countries. The firm hopes to bring more “Wisconsin Get Your Business Online” events to other parts of the state.

Earlier: Google works to boost small businesses’ web expertise