Encouraging entrepreneurship worldwide could “drive growth and more usage of the Web. More start-ups are good for the economy, but also Google and our business,” said Mary Grove, Google’s head of global entrepreneurship outreach.
Google kicked off its launch with a panel discussion at its office in Washington on Monday, during which Grove and Slava Rubin, chief executive of San Francisco based-crowdfunding platform Indiegogo, spoke about how their technologies could help entrepreneurs.
For example, entrepreneurs can post business projects on Indiegogo’s platform and request donations from anyone online, Rubin said.
D.C. native Antwanye Ford, president of D.C.-based information technology and management consulting firm Enlightened, also participated in the panel, discussing the potential for the District’s entrepreneurs to influence the rest of the nation.
In addition to the D.C. panel, Google for Entrepreneurs plans several organized programs for entrepreneurs all over the world, such as StartupWeekends, or weekend-long meetups during which participants are encouraged to produce marketable programs, in cities ranging from Pittsburgh to Johor, Indonesia.
But for the 350 entrepreneurs attending the D.C. panel discussion, a few were still skeptical about how the initiative could help them.
Lana Nguyen, owner of D.C.-based online-only furniture store Lana Furniture, recently shuttered her brick-and-mortar store for a website. She said she spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on big-name Web developers to help her sell her inventory — and was “taken for a ride every time.” Google for Entrepreneurs’s technology services might help younger start-ups, but how could it help older business owners like herself? she asked during the panel’s question and answer session.
Grove answered that Google’s intent was to create products that would help all entrepreneurs, including those like Nguyen. Nguyen was looking for more concrete suggestions.