A helping hand for small business


Photo courtesy of Google
At Google’s Chelsea office, Wendy Gonzalez leads an initiative to provide companies with tech tools and workshops
by ashad hajela

Since its establishment in September 1998, Google has been leading an initiative to promote small businesses by providing companies access to their revolutionary tools as well as training. Working out of Google’s office in Chelsea, Wendy Gonzalez, the tech giant’s manager for the Small Business Outreach Team, is leading the initiative today.

Gonzalez is 32 and has worked with small businesses throughout her career so far and she loves doing it. “It’s so inspiring,” she said. “In my family there have been a lot of small-business owners.”

Gonzalez’s team helps small companies by providing them access to Google apps and workshops. One notable endeavor is the “Get Your Business Online” program. Her team also backs a mobile app called Primer, which provides five-minute lessons about getting a business started and social-media marketing.

Gonzalez’s team has helped many small businesses, but a company called Sword and Plough, based halfway across the country in Denver, Colorado, stands out to her in particular. “Sword and Plough is one of my favorites,” she said.

Sword and Plough is a company that makes bags out of surplus military fabrics. A pair of sisters founded the company, one of whom was in the military until last year.

“They launched it with a Kickstarter Campaign,” said Gonzalez. “They used Google apps to start their business.”

Although Google is the leading company in providing Internet tool to small businesses, Gonzalez is wary of competition. “One of the amazing things about the Internet is that there are so many different companies out there and people can use the products that are best for them,” she said.

Google’s and Gonzalez’s impact on small businesses in New York was recognized when she was the featured speaker last month at WCBS Newsradio 880 Small Business Breakfast, the longest running small-business event series in the New York area. There, Gonzalez gave advice about how to handle small businesses.

“It is really inspiring to see them want to use Google products,” she said. “It makes me feel so great. I am lucky.”