Google launches Leeds-based Digital Garage

Google launched its first Digital Garage in Leeds on Friday, in a bid to help small and medium enterprises (SME) improve their digital skills and learn how to code.

The project should see the SMEs grow and increase their businesses faster.

The Digital Garage is a multi-million pound programme, based in the heart of local communities, that will provide digital skills training to 200,000 SMEs both online and in person at pop-up training venues across the UK.

The Digital Garage event, attended by shadow chancellor Ed Balls, himself a Leeds constituency MP, and Eileen Naughton, Google's UK & Ireland boss, forms part of a Google commitment to train one million Europeans in crucial digital skills by 2016, which includes a European Online Training Hub, The Inquirer writes.

Naughton said: "While the majority of UK small businesses recognise the importance of having a website and using basic digital tools, less than 30 percent of SMEs have an effective online presence. We want to help jumpstart the other 70 percent.

"We believe that giving small business owners access to expert advice will help strengthen the UK’s reputation as one of the most advanced digital economies, and cement its place as the most advanced e-commerce market in the world."

In this project, Google will get help from the CBI, FSB, Chamber of Commerce and LEPs, it says on the Google Blog.

The first Digital Garage, The Leeds Garage will open to the public for six months beginning 30 March offering courses, one-to-one mentoring sessions and Code Clubs.