New city programs aimed at tech-curious small biz
by Andrew Pavia
Aug 29, 2012 | 800 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In order to stay relevant these days, a business needs a digital presence, no matter how big or small. Which is why NYC Digital has partnered with tech giants Google, Mashable and Tumbler to help city business owners learn how to maintain an online presence.

The program is called Digital Toolkit and will begin in September. The courses will cover a range of digital topics that are geared toward educating small business owners who want to get a better understanding of the Internet and how it can benefit their business.

Some of the topics covered in the course will include creating an online presence, search engine optimization, and marketing a business through social media, to name a few. The first course will be taught on Thursday, September 20, from 2 to 5 p.m. at the NYC Business Solutions Center, 168-25 Jamaica Avenue, in Jamaica.

However, all of the courses will be available for free at the city’s various Small Business Solutions Centers throughout the five boroughs. Small businesses interested in signing up should visit nyc.gov or call 311.

And NYC Digital, along with Small Business Services and Mashable, will hold a series of online “how to” guides that will focus on launching a website, advertising online and using Facebook, Google+, Tumblr, and Twitter.

At a press conference held at the center last week, Mayor Michael Bloomberg discussed the new initiative.

“If you’re in business today, we know you have to make sure that you’re customers can reach you by computer and mobile devices,” said Bloomberg. “That’s true whether you’re selling furniture or falafel.”

New York City’s Chief Digital Officer, Rachel Haot, said that while this digital toolkit program will be helpful, New York City’s small business owners are already some of the most digital savvy business owners in the world.

“A recent new Tech City report showed that New York City was the only region to show an increase in venture funding between 2007 and 2012,” she said. “That’s an increase of 32 percent more than Silicon Valley and more than Boston.”

The program was created as a result of a recent survey conducted by Small business Services at the Jamaica center. The survey found that small business are most interested in website development and social media and that the demand for integrating digital technology in small business is high.”

And the Digital Toolkit initiative isn’t the only thing the city is doing to help small business owners stay current with technology. SBS, Citi Community Development, and five local nonprofit organizations are teaming up to form a new coalition called the New York City Small Business Technology Coalition.

This new group will help expand technology use by reaching out to under-served small business owners. So far, Citi has provided $225,000, including the initial $125,000 that launched the coalition.

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