Google just turned 14, and to celebrate, they’ve launched an exciting new division called Google for Entrepreneurs. Mary Grove, Google’s new Head of Global Entrepreneurship Outreach, explained what it’s all about in a blog post.

Our focus is threefold:

  1. Partnerships with strong organizations that serve entrepreneurs in local communities
  2. Google-led programs to bring our teams and our tools directly to entrepreneurs
  3. Placing relevant Google tools in the hands of startups as they are getting off the ground and ready to scale

Basically, Google for Entrepreneurs is now an umbrella for several dozen programs and partnerships that Google has all over the world supporting startups and entrepreneurs. They kicked everything off with Google for Entrepreneurs Week with events in 26 cities in 13 countries. Some of these initiatives were set up all over the world, as away far as Korea, Israel, South Africa, Bulgaria, Egypt, Australia, and Kenya—and of course also locally in U.S. cities like Portland, Austin, Chicago, Seattle, and Los Angeles.

If you’re an entrepreneur or a startup founder, or you’re just interested in what Google’s been up to, you should head over to their newly launched site. There’s a ton of information on their initiatives to help entrepreneurs as well as the independent programs they’ve helped make possible. Here’s a more in-depth look at two of their more exciting programs:

Startup Weekend

Startup Weekend’s mantra is “no talk, all action” and they mean it: they organize weekend events for people to brainstorm and then launch a startup within 54 hours. They’re a non-profit that gathers people from all sorts of backgrounds, and within one weekend they pitch ideas, form teams, develop products, and launch companies.

Over 36% of the startups are still up and running after three months, but launching a business isn’t the only benefit that these weekends have. They’re based on the idea that it’s better to learn through the act of creating than by studying or strategizing. Compressing the process of creating a startup to such a small timeframe forces everyone to step outside of their comfort zone, to try new ways of doing things and learn something new.

These events are also great networking opportunities, since working with a small team of people through the intense problem solving required to launch a company can create lasting relationships. Someone who was a complete stranger at the beginning of the weekend may end up being exactly the kind of co-founder or investor you were looking for. The friendships and partnerships that come out of Startup Weekends are often longer lasting than the companies they create—in fact, about 80% of the attendees plan on continuing to work together after the weekend.

Google has partnered with Startup Weekend to expand to more cities, launch new verticals, and give additional opportunities for attendees to receive relevant education. They’ve made possible pre-Startup Weekend Bootcamps that help developers become familiar with Google APIs and platforms, making the weekend a smoother overall experience. To find out if there’s a Startup Weekend happening near you, visit their events page.

Google Business Groups (GBG)

GBG is a recent initiative by Google meant to serve as an index for independently-run local groups. Their goal is to connect like-minded professionals who want to use the internet more effectively for their business—whether that means marketing their company more efficiently online, selling their products/services over the internet, or enhancing the internal processes of their business with web 2.0 technologies.

They have chapters set up all over the world, each one being run on the grassroots level, without corporate oversight from Google. This means each group is different and can look different depending on the needs of the people involved. It might be a social gathering with local small business owners and entrepreneurs, a larger event with Google speakers in attendance, or even an online hangout over a service like Google+.

GBG can be a great opportunity to educate yourself and network with knowledgeable people both locally and internationally. It’s still in its infancy, so joining now means you’ll be one of the first ones to get involved. If you don’t find one in your area, don’t fret. They’re adding new communities all the time, so check back in a few weeks and you may see a pin in the map a bit closer to you. Also, you could always try to start a local community yourself, or submit a request for a new business group in your region.

These are just a few of the programs Google helps to put on. For more information, check out their intro video below, or read through the information on their site.


By Matthew Thornton & Sharon Campbell