I saw the birth of hundreds of online businesses Wednesday, and it was a beautiful thing.
Google Inc., Intuit Inc. and a bevy of other tech partners sponsored “Michigan Get Your Business Online” Tuesday and Wednesday at the Max M. Fisher Center in midtown Detroit. More than 1,200 business registered for Google’s and Intuit’s offer for a free three-page Web site and a year of free Web hosting.
There were also classes in running a business online and using Google’s AdWords product.
Michael Miller, the head of Google’s Ann Arbor office, said Google research shows nearly 60 percent of Michigan small businesses are not online. And these days, he said, that’s like not having a phone number. So Google decided to do something about it — to energize the Michigan economy, to build a more vibrant Internet, and of course, to groom future customers.
Participating businesses also receive a listing on Google Places.
One of the more interesting businesses I ran across Wednesday trains rescue dogs to sniff out bedbug infestations. Target markets include hotels, health care facilities, theaters, and homes. Read more, and listen to a podcast, at http://detroit.cbslocal.com/2011/10/19/bug-sniffing-dogs-to-the-rescue/.
The event continues Friday in Kalamazoo at the Howard Chenery Auditorium, 714 S. Westnedge Ave. in Kalamazoo.
And it continues online at www.michigangetonline.com.
Michigan Get Your Business Online is a joint initiative by the following partners: Google, Intuit, Meetup, SCORE, Michigan Economic Development Corp., Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council, Michigan Small Business & Technology Development Centers, Small Business Association of Michigan, Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce, Southwest Michigan First, Ann Arbor Spark, Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Chamber of Commerce, American-Arab Chamber of Commerce, Center for Empowerment and Economic Development, Focus: Hope, Michigan Non-Profit Association, Inforum, Michigan Black Chamber of Commerce, Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Michigan Medical Device Accelerator, Michigan Restaurant Association, TechTown, University of Michigan Business Engagement Center, Wayne State University Law School Small Business Clinic.