Although digital technologies have become one of the most important drivers of business development, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Latvia are significantly behind the European average – they are ranked only 23rd out of 27 EU countries in the field of digital technology introduction1. Several unused digital solutions are still available to Latvian companies, so Google, in cooperation with the Ministry of Economics and the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia (IDAL), continue the Grow with Google training programme, which involved more than 6000 business representatives, including Latvians abroad, last year.
Digitisation significantly improves the efficiency of businesses and creates new business opportunities, which are particularly important in times of uncertainty. However, the lack of awareness and the necessary information, as well as caution and fear of the unknown are the challenges faced by SMEs when thinking about implementing digital solutions. Our goal is to encourage and support entrepreneurs on their way towards development, so we are continuing our Grow with Google programme this year as well. In cooperation with the leading Latvian cybersecurity, e-commerce and digital marketing experts, we have prepared a large training cycle, inviting everyone to use this opportunity to integrate various digital solutions into the activities of their companies,” Vytautas Kubilius, Google Director for Baltic States, says.
Free online training will run from February 2, with a special focus on cyber security, as well as export and international growth issues. This year’s innovation is the individual consultation that will be available to programme participants to help put the acquired skills into practice.
The programme is implemented in close cooperation with the Ministry of Economics and the IDAL. When addressing participants at the inaugural event, the Minister of Economics Ilze Indriksone emphasised the importance of educated human resources for economic transformation.
Today, the labour market demands lifelong learning. It helps people not only to reskill to the industry with the greatest potential, but also to build a satisfying working life and help to stay sharp-minded and emotionally well for a longer period of time. And only a smart nation can do technological modernisation, develop innovations needed in the world and build a higher standard of living for all of us,” she explains.
The Minister was delighted about cooperation with Google in terms of human resources development, strengthening economic security, and involvement of Latvian regions and diaspora,
Meanwhile, the IDAL Director Kaspars Rožkalns said that the Google training made a significant contribution to the development of entrepreneurs’ digital competences.
The participants of the IDAL’s regional business incubators who engaged in the training process have indicated that they would be happy to engage in such a training programme in the future. It should be emphasised that this year several support programmes for the digitisation of enterprises will also be available at the national level, including the digital voucher programme administered by the IDAL, where companies will have the opportunity to raise up to 100 thousand euros,” K.Rožkalns says.
Last year, more than 6000 Latvian residents started training supported by Google. The target originally set was doubled. The participants appreciated the practical side of the information presented and the opportunity to receive feedback from industry professionals.
Whom and what opportunities does Grow with Google offer?
The global Grow with Google programme offers training designed specifically for Latvian businesses and the population to acquire new digital skills. Educational programmes are important not only for existing businesses and their employees, but also for those who are at the beginning of their business path or want to build careers in this area. All interested parties are welcome to participate.
This year, increased focus will be on cybersecurity issues, introducing participants to the most common online security threats and practical ways to protect themselves. This year, more attention will be paid to helping Latvian companies to develop internationally. The possibility to sell their goods and services across borders could help businesses to grow and boost Latvia’s GDP growth, because, according to the DESI index, only 7% of Latvian small and medium-sized enterprises were engaged in cross-border trade in 2022, compared to 12% in Lithuania and 9% in Estonia.
To apply for the training, you should register at https://www.digijourney.com/izaugsme-ar-google/ specifying the preferable course topic and the date. The first training courses will begin on February 2 and will take place online under the guidance of experienced trainers. The training will take place in Latvian and some courses will also be in Russian. The classes will be interactive, enabling participants to participate in a discussion and ask questions of interest.
More information about Grow with Google can be found here.
1Data of the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) created by the European Commission: https://digital-strategy.ec.europa.eu/en/policies/countries-digitisation-performance
Corporate Communications Lead in the Baltic States