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Leveraging Digital Resources and Training for Small Business Growth and Community Benefit: What Small Businesses Need Today

Presented by AEO in partnership with Empower by GoDaddy

Leveraging Digital Resources and Training for Small Business Growth and Community Benefit: What Small Businesses Need Today

Presented by AEO in partnership with Empower by GoDaddy

Published 05-18-22

Submitted by GoDaddy

Georganne Bryant, Frances
Photo: Georganne Bryant, Frances

Originally published on

Empower by GoDaddy is proud to celebrate 5 years of serving entrepreneurs everywhere. This report is intended as a reflection of our learnings and framework for others to follow suit in supporting local small business owners around the world.

What Small Businesses Need Today

Today's business landscape looks different than that of a decade ago, and — thanks to COVID-19 —different even than the picture of two years ago. Digitization is the dominant trend, and while that has been the case for years now, the pandemic super-charged the speed and urgency of this shift. McKinsey reports that the pandemic accelerated the progress of digital transformation by three or four years. Executives told McKinsey that they see this shift as permanent and are making investments in further digital advancement.1

Statistics bear out the importance of this development. UN trade and development experts report that global ecommerce’s share of retail sales jumped from 16% to 19% during 2020, calling the rise “dramatic,”2 and McKinsey reports that e-commerce experienced 10 years’ worth of growth in three months in 2020.3

"The density of websites represents an important new measure of digital participation in communities and in local economies."
– Harvard Business Review Analytic Services 4

A survey of 8,200 marketers by Salesforce found that 90% had changed their approach during the pandemic, with 91% focusing on social media, 88% publishing digital content, and 86% putting energy into websites and apps.5 Research from PYMNTS found that in fall 2020, one-third of consumers said they were very or extremely likely to purchase from a retailer that offers digital, touchless offerings over one that doesn’t. This data and more like it prompted PYMTS to ask whether small businesses can “avoid being left behind in the great digital shift.”6

Creating a robust digital presence has become a near-necessity for many small business, no matter their sector or location. While some small businesses have a brick-and-mortar presence, online activity can provide a much broader scope of economic opportunity, as it does not rely on physical proximity to customers.

Photo: Hopeton St. Clair Hibbert, St. Clair Renaissance

With the rapid rise in digitization and changing customer expectations about how businesses should market and sell, small businesses urgently need support in ensuring their digital presence is robust. GoDaddy Venture Forward data shows that a digital presence can expand the reach and financial success of small enterprises, and that they need technical assistance or what AEO calls trusted guidance — training, tools, and networks — to establish and enhance an effective digital presence. A GoDaddy customer survey found that 77% of microbusinesses believe that having a website would increase revenue, but 50% do not have a website because it seems too difficult or too costly to create one.

Eighty-three percent of the BSOs that work with the Empower by GoDaddy program believe that small business owners need better strategies to expand customer markets, which these days means better digital outreach and e-commerce capabilities.

As a McKinsey study puts it: “Access to technology is vital... Technology companies could play a critical role by providing affordable or free access to digital tools and solutions
to help the most vulnerable companies upgrade their technology and compete in the
digital age.”7

"Small businesses with slim margins have little room to invest in the business models and technologies that they will need to survive. It will take collaboration across the economy to keep them afloat."
— McKinsey & Co8

With the Empower program, GoDaddy and AEO are doing just that — bringing digital marketing expertise and tools to business owners from all socioeconomic backgrounds to support their success.

Learn more about Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO) here

Learn more about GoDaddy here

McKinsey & Co., “How COVID-19 has pushed companies over the technology tipping point—and transformed business forever,” October 5, 2020; and-corporate-finance/our-insights/how-covid-19-has-pushed-companies-over-the-technology-tipping- point-and-transformed-business-forever?cid=eml-web
UN News, “Global e-commerce jumps to $26.7 trillion, fueled by COVID-19,” May 3, 2021; https://news.
3 McKinsey & Co., “Five Fifty: The Quickening,” and-corporate-finance/our-insights/five-fifty-the-quickening?cid=eml-web
4 Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, “The Rise of Everyday Entrepreneurs and Their
Economic Impact on Communities,” 2020; uploads/2021/03/HBR_Whitepaper_Apr_2020.pdf

5RetailWire, “Did the pandemic change digital marketing for good?” September 10, 2021; https://www.
6PYMNTS, “Can SMBs Avoid Being Left Behind In The Great Digital Shift?,” October 12, 2020; https://
7McKinsey & Co., “COVID-19’s effect on minority-owned small businesses in the United States,” May 27, 2020; on-minority-owned-small-businesses-in-the-united-states?cid=eml-web
8McKinsey & Co., “US small-business recovery after the COVID-19 crisis,” July 7, 2020; https://www. covid-19-crisis?cid=eml-web

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GoDaddy is empowering everyday entrepreneurs around the world by providing all of the help and tools to succeed online. GoDaddy is the place people come to name their idea, build a professional website, attract customers, sell their products and services, and manage their work. Our mission is to give our customers the tools, insights and the people to transform their ideas and personal initiative into success. To learn more about the company, visit

About GoDaddy for Good

GoDaddy focuses on making opportunity more inclusive for all in the communities where we work, live and play across the globe. We rally behind inclusive entrepreneurship and other critical local needs that empower people to succeed through philanthropic and in-kind donations, volunteerism, strategic partnerships and advocacy.

Empower by GoDaddy 

Empower by GoDaddy is GoDaddy's global community and philanthropic program equipping entrepreneurs in underserved communities with training, tools and peer networks to accelerate their journeys. GoDaddy rallies behind entrepreneurs in underserved communities by building their confidence and skills to strengthen their small business’ digital presence.  Entrepreneurs engage in customized learning experiences, work 1-1 with GoDaddy volunteer coaches and local mentors, and gain access to wrap-around services, in-kind products and networks boosting their small businesses success.

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