The National Broadband Plan and Small Business

Yesterday, I spoke at a panel with other tech companies about how small businesses can leverage the Internet to grow their business. The event was put on by the SBA and FCC through a program called SCORE, which, among other things, is seeking to accelerate small business growth through access to broadband. SCORE will create a comprehensive package of applications, training, and support to small businesses in the country's neediest areas.

One of the small business owners I met at the event, Emily McHugh of Casauri, spoke about how the Internet helped start and grow her business. Emily and her sister started their business in 1999 because they thought there weren’t enough good bags out there for tech gear. And they were right! With Emily’s business degree and her sister Helen’s design degree, Casauri took off. They’ve helped scale their business by leveraging the Internet. All of Casauri’s accounting, sales, and data storage is done online. This cloud computing approach makes their business more efficient and saves them money. But Emily cautioned, "the Internet doesn't mean anything to small business without access...dial-up doesn't count... it's all about speed!"

Emily and her sister are not alone. Lots of small businesses are tapping the Internet to grow their businesses and we believe SCORE will help boost digital literacy, online commerce capabilities, and usage of low-cost, cloud-based tools for small businesses across the country.

If you’re interested in learning about how to start a business or make it more efficient using low-cost or free online tools, you may want to take a look at our series of blog posts on entrepreneurship, which started yesterday on the Official Google Blog.

And, now, I’m going back to browsing all of Casuri’s great laptop bags.