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Jake Ward, President of the Connected Commerce Council (3C) and Mistique Cano, Director of Policy & Public Affairs at Google.

The pandemic created a greater urgency to adopt digital tools, but small businesses are still faced with 2 key barriers – information and cost.

What this means: SMBs need to reinvent themselves to adapt, but they’re often left behind because they’re “historically under-capitalized,” said Jake Ward, President of the Connected Commerce Council (3C).

  • 49% of SMBs surveyed by 3C and Google cite information and skills gaps.
  • 45% report cost and return on investments as challenges.

The challenge: A majority of SMBs (52%) have had trouble accessing working capital during the pandemic. Without capital, SMBs struggle to innovate and far too many have trouble accessing and adopting digital tools.

A solution: Education and technical assistance.

  • The Digitally Driven study showed that only 35% of SMB leaders describe themselves as “very comfortable” with digital tools.
  • But a majority of SMB leaders are eager to learn and prefer self-guided learning through step-by step-video tutorials and webinars.

The takeaway: Tech companies need to help SMBs understand how to best take advantage of the digital tools they’re offering, while increasing access to discovery, descriptions and registrations.

  • Example: Through its Grow with Google program, Google has helped train over 5 million Americans and has provided more trainings to “help SMBs pivot lost sales from storefronts to online” during the pandemic, said Mistique Cano, Director of Policy & Public Affairs at Google.

Policymakers, on top of expanding access to capital, need to prioritize the creation of public-private partnerships that focus on scaling solutions to the existing barriers for SMBs.

Go deeper

Google's 20-year path from David to Goliath

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

It's taken Google two decades to transform from a beloved search innovator into a Big Tech behemoth.

Flashback: At Google's launch 22 years ago, it provided accurate, simple, fast results — unlike its competitors in search, which had become bloated "portals" — and quickly won the hearts first of Internet insiders and then of the broader public.

U.S. vs. Google — the siege begins

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Justice Department fired the starter pistol on what's likely to be a years-long legal siege of Big Tech by the U.S. government when it filed a major antitrust suit Tuesday against Google.

The big picture: Once a generation, it seems, federal regulators decide to take on a dominant tech company. Two decades ago, Microsoft was the target; two decades before that, IBM.

Oct 21, 2020 - Podcasts

House antitrust chair talks USA vs. Google

The Justice Department filed a 63-page antitrust lawsuit against Google related to the tech giant's search and advertising business. This comes just weeks after the House subcommittee on antitrust issued its own scathing report on Google and other Big Tech companies, arguing they've become digital monopolies.

Axios Re:Cap talks with Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), chair of the subcommittee on antitrust, about Google, the DOJ's lawsuit and Congress' next move.