Around forty Indigenous entrepreneurs sat listening to tech geniuses from Google in Sydney on Friday to gain some valuable insights on how to go about boosting their small businesses online.
Coming from the giants of the digital world themselves, audience members learnt how to be found online, the fundamentals of Search Engine Optimisation and how to promote their business through online advertising.
The event was Google’s first ‘Grow with Google’ event – hosted in partnership with Supply Nation - specifically for Indigenous businesses.
Small business owner Tim Moggridge, who runs a construction design and facilities maintenance company called NPM Indigenous, said the day had inspired him to do more interesting things with his business website, which he admitted had only gained little traction to date.
“[This has been] an amazing opportunity to look at how we can get more online traffic onto our website and then hopefully convert that into sales,” he told NITV News.
“It’s great to know, and what better way to learn than from the best in the business."
Mr Moggride, a Kamilaroi man, said the biggest takeaway from the day was walking away with a more sound understanding on how to utilise free Google services to enhance attraction to his online websites and social media platforms.
For Mr Moggridge, growing his business is not just about the money: it's also about providing job opportunities for other First Nations people, he said.
“I want to create an environment where I can employ Indigenous Australians and mob and actually bring them into a place that is culturally safe."
Leading the event was Google's marketing manager, Rebecca Mason, who said the idea behind the day was to equip businesses with the digital skills they need to succeed online.
“What we know is that small businesses that are digitally engaged are one and a half times more likely to be growing online,” she said.
Ms Mason also said that a lot of people are intimidated by digital platforms, with many often not knowing where to start.
“I think it can be a really daunting thing to get started with when you are thinking about advertising. I think a lot of small business owners recognise that they need to have a presence online but sometimes don’t necessarily know how to get started,” said Ms Mason.
“I think that’s something that ‘Grow with Google’ was really all about, demonstrating and giving people an outlet by which they can learn those skills for free online.”
Morgan Coleman, a Torres Strait Islander man and owner-founder of Vets on Call – a business that allows vets to travel to you – admitted that he was intimidated by the digital world at first.
“It was all pretty new. I’m not an IT person … I knew when I started the business that I was going to have to partner with somebody that could actually help with the tech side of things,” he said.
Since opening in August last year, Mr Coleman said he is happy with where his business is at, but still attends events like ‘Grow with Google’ to improve his skills.
“I think it’s always useful to learn in business, if you aren’t growing you know, you are dying basically,” he said.