Brunswick, by virtue of its tech-savvy small-business owners, has Maine’s strongest digital economy, according to Google Inc.
Each year, Google partners with independent research firm Ipsos to evaluate the online strength of local small businesses across all 50 states.
After weighing various factors, such as the likelihood of small businesses having a mobile-friendly website, maintaining an e-commerce platform, publishing a blog and connecting with customers on social networks, the Internet giant recognizes one community in each state where the local businesses have excelled at leveraging the Internet to find new customers and grow the local economies. It calls them eCities.
According to Google, 97 percent of Internet users look online for local products and services, and businesses that have an active digital presence grow twice as fast as their offline counterparts.
“Brunswick serves as a prime example of how innovation and growth in e-commerce can successfully contribute to bolstering economic progress and competitiveness,” Emma Ogiemwanye, a representative from Google, said in a statement. “Google is proud to recognize Brunswick’s accomplishment and the role it plays in creating Maine jobs.”
The only Brunswick-based business Google cites in its news release is Gelato Fiasco, which makes and serves Italian gelato. Gelato Fiasco “utilized the Web to strengthen their online presence and grow their brand, affording them the opportunity to serve their gelato in select grocery stores around the country.”
Linda Smith, Brunswick’s business development manager, says the city is home to several established and emerging tech-savvy businesses. She says TechPlace, a business incubator being launched at Brunswick Landing will attract even more innovative entrepreneurs to the community.
“We recognize the vast potential offered through the Internet for a worldwide customer base – on our digital doorstep,” she said in a statement.
This is the second year Google has named an eCity in each state. Last year, Google selected Scarborough as Maine’s inaugural eCity.
The eCity recognitions promote Google’s digital marketing products, such as AdWords and AdSense, to small businesses for the creation of their websites and online marketing efforts.
In July, Google reported that its search engine and advertising platforms helped provide $286 million in economic activity for Maine businesses, website publishers and nonprofits in 2013. That’s out of a nationwide total estimated impact of $111 billion.
The Google economic impact report notes that 5,500 Maine businesses and nonprofits benefited from using Google’s advertising tools in 2013.