Canadian small and medium business get a leg up from Google

Yesterday, small and medium size businesses (SMBs) in Canada got a gift from Google to jump start their business presence online. Hosted by Kevin O’Leary of Dragon’s Den at the historical Fermenting Cellar, in the Distillery district in Toronto, Canada, SMBs can now get a website & .CA domain for free as part of the “Canada Get your Business online” (GYBO) initiative.

Partnering with Yola inc., CIRA, The Globe and Mail, Rogers, Canadian Chamber of Commerce, and Silver Lining Ltd, Google wants to shrink the gap between SMBs lack of online presence and their customers who are using the internet to find them. “Over the next year, we hope to help 100,000 Canadian businesses build websites and reach customers online” says Chris O’Neill, Managing Director Google Canada.

According to Google, there are over 2 million SMBs in Canada, and close to half have no presence online. These rock stars of the Canadian economy need the help to be where their customers are looking for them and this initiative gets them one step closer.

As someone who has been in online marketing for over 11 years, I am extremely excited to see the program launched. SMBs struggle with lack of time, resources, amongst other challenges of starting a business and this initiative helps them conquer one important challenge, and that is an online web presence, with a price tag of FREE. We work with many SMBs, as our resellers do, and can relate to the challenges, so having a program that is focused on helping SMBs is fantastic.

Congratulations to Google, Yola, CIRA and the other partners who are giving small and medium businesses in Canada a leg up! Also, a special Thank you to Rogers for drawing my name to win a Blackberry Torch!

If you’d like more information, go to

8 thoughts on “Canadian small and medium business get a leg up from Google

  1. Has anybody considered the economic impact of this sharade on SMBs in the web development field? I think not.
    No, this is not a day to celebrate … this IS a declaration of war.

  2. For those of us that make our living serving SMBs with web development and domain name registrations (many of us are SMBs too!), this is going to be painful. It’s hard to compete with free.

    If there are some provisions for this to help those of us that are serving this market, it would be great to see a follow up post outline how this helps US.

  3. Hi;

    I believe Tucows is happy because Google and Yola uses them for registering the domain name.

    I believe this is a conflict of Interest and seing Tucows so happy to announce it just adds more anger to this situation;

    Google is after the adwords customers; We paid Google a lot of money to be found on the paid results. Now, they are competing with us just to offer their Adwords coupon.

    Google is an Public company and trying to increase its revenue, How can they do it, by selling more ads. They have forgotten their original reasons why people liked them. Google will be hated as Microsoft if they continue like this;

    Tucows, please stop advertising this because it is a conflict o interest for your resellers;


  4. I understand how this announcement is deceiving to many small business already in the domain and hosting industry. However, I have the exact same motivations for starting a domain reselling business. There are so many SMBs who are underestimating having an online presence. I wish, I could be part of this.


  5. You’d think that someone with 11 years of internet marketing would know one critical rule:

    Know your market!

    If OpenSRS resellers are primarily small to medium businesses, then they need to understand that many OpenSRS customers see this as a threat.

    Of course, a free Blackberry Torch may have clouded someone’s vision for a moment.

  6. I agree fully with the comments above, re: tough to compete with free. I have already started losing clients to “free” google mail and cloud hosting services. “Embrace and Engulf” is the new order of business.
    On many levels, this IS a conflict from SRS. Just like computer “distributors” who sell to walkin clients and undercut their own resellers.

  7. First, I want to thank you for your comments. I hear what each of you have said and I wanted to clarify the key takeaway message that I think may have been masked by the congratulatory theme of the post. This post, like our ongoing “Meet the Resellers” series, was meant not only to highlight the success of our reseller Yola, but also to spark ideas and discussion about similar opportunities that may exist in your markets.

    Some of the key ideas you might take away from this post are:

    1) While the GYBO program is helping some Canadian businesses get online, even after this program, there will still be over 700,000 Canadian SMBs without an online presence. How many thousands of SMBs are there in your market that are still missing an online presence?

    2) Each and every reseller has a niche market that they can serve to help these businesses create an online presence. What local business services could you partner with to offer something similar or better in your own market?

    3) One of the challenges for SMBs looking to build and maintain an online presence is a lack of time and resources. How can you leverage your personal touch and own expertise to help smaller businesses needing more guidance to get online?

    We strive to provide our resellers with resources to help you grow your business in a way that makes sense for you, and this post was meant to get you thinking about ideas that you can apply to your own business. The opportunity in helping SMBs get online is tremendous, and I am excited not only for Yola, but all our resellers, as the GYBO initiative will hopefully act as a springboard to show other SMBs the importance of having an online presence.

    Your success is our success, so I’d be more than happy to discuss with you further how your business can tap into the SMB market. You can find me at lequan at opensrs dot com.

  8. And next we can outsource accounting and other functions to ‘help’ other small Canadian businesses – oh except for the small accounting business of course… The stupidity of this beggars belief – pick off one type of small business at a time and tell all the other types of business what a great idea it is. “First they came for the website developers and I stayed silent…”

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