For many of us, the word “entrepreneur” brings to mind a certain type of person: someone young, assertive and probably male. But plenty of entrepreneurs don’t identify with any of those descriptions.
Anne-Cécile, a middle-aged woman from Rennes, France, has always been a creative type, with a passion for handcrafting bracelets made of miyuki pearls. When she found herself unemployed at 52, she wanted to try something completely different: selling her products online. But she didn’t know where to start with getting her business off the ground. So she visited the Grow with Google hub in her hometown and signed up for ten free digital skills courses through the Ateliers Numériques (French for “digital workshop”) program. After learning the basics of search engine optimization and online communication, Anne-Cécile not only launched her online jewelry business, but also landed a job in marketing a few months later
Launched in 2012, Google Ateliers Numériques is a French training program that provides small businesses, students and job seekers with relevant skills and digital tools training for free. More than 400,000 people have been trained through the program, with 25 percent having found a job, grown their career or expanded their business as a result of the training. And in the past 18 months, four physical Grow with Google hubs have opened in Nancy, Rennes, Montpellier and Saint-Etienne, France. The people who visit are from all walks of life, but they have the same goal in mind: to increase their digital skills to create new opportunities.
Another one of those participants is Karine, an ethnologist, reporter, speaker and founder of the company Terres Indigènes. Karine was planning a trip and cultural exchange with indigenous people in Southeast Asia. She had a hunch that she needed a digital crowdfunding campaign, but didn’t know where to start. She took advantage of the resources available at the Grow with Google hub in Montpellier, attending ten one-on-one coaching sessions and trainings on using YouTube and social networks. She then successfully ran a €20,000 crowdfunding campaign funded by hundreds of contributors.
The Ateliers Numériques program isn’t just for helping established professionals expand their skills. Twenty-three-year-old Océane, who was unemployed in Nancy, wanted to work in digital marketing but felt she lacked the hard skills she’d need to secure a role. To upskill and increase her knowledge, she completed every training on digital marketing at Google Atelier Numérique of Nancy and took private sessions with coaches. During her time at the hub, she met with a recruiter and, after making that connection, is now employed full time as a web marketing manager.
To date, 49 percent of the more than six million people we’ve trained across Europe are women, and we aim to keep growing our programs with dedicated initiatives such as IamRemarkable and Women Will. Everyone should have the opportunity to live, work, learn and participate in the digital world. We look forward to helping many more people like Anne-Cécile, Karine and Océane by giving them access to the tools and training they need to confidently pursue their ambitions.