New Delhi– The Grow with Google initiative has trained 50 million people in Asia Pacific to date, empowering small businesses and jobseekers who are facing uncertainty and looking for digital skills training to help them increase their economic potential, the company announced on Thursday.

Google said that it will continue to make ad credits available to small businesses in Asia Pacific, as part of a broader, $340 million global commitment.

“We’ll keep adding new forms of support across all our tools and platforms. But where we believe we can make the biggest, most sustained impact is in digital skills,” said Scott Beaumont, President, Asia Pacific.

For example, Krishne Tassels, an ornamental tassels company led by a husband and wife from Bengaluru, has been able to weather the Covid-19 pandemic.

When the pandemic began to affect their operations, owners Raghu and Amita developed a new kind of lace that customers can stitch themselves, then uploaded YouTube tutorials to show them what to do, keeping sales up and building a sense of community at the same time.

“Every day, I hear more stories like this one, testifying to the resilience and ingenuity of family business owners across the region. We want to help them adjust and succeed as Asia’s economies reopen,” said Beaumont.

While its economic impacts have been widespread, Covid-19 has cast an especially harsh light on entrenched inequalities around the world—including in Asia Pacific.

“Not everyone in the region has the same access to the opportunities the internet creates, and we’re determined to help change that,” said the company.

Google said it is focusing on three areas: Expanding direct support for small businesses, helping people get digital skills for the economic recovery, and working to make the recovery inclusive.

Earlier this week, backed by funding from Google.org and support from ASEAN, The Asia Foundation announced a new grassroots programme that will bring skills training to 200,000 people in marginalized communities across Southeast Asia. (IANS)

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