Grow with Google stories
From bakers in Pittsburgh to a teacher in Charleston, people across the country are using technology to achieve their goals. Here are a few of their stories.
Working out what’s next
Sadie Kurzban was juggling how to scale her fitness studios, when COVID threw her for a loop. Within the first few days of the shutdown, she learned to livestream her classes on YouTube. Since then, half of her members have continued paying their monthly fee, and she’s hoping to keep teaching online even after her studios reopen.
Embracing a new chapter
When COVID hit, Dea and Marc Lavoie had to shut down their children’s bookstore in Denver. With the help of Google Meet, they figured out a way to keep their community events going — and boost their sales. Now, as they continue to adapt, they plan to host events both in the store and virtually for their growing online community.
Threading through generations
Sisters Betsy Núñez and Emily Núñez Cavness grew up in a military family, and Emily was an officer in the U.S. Army for five years. Inspired by their entrepreneurial mother and grandmother, they founded Sword & Plough, which designs one-of-a-kind, made-in-the-USA bags and accessories, created from repurposed military surplus and durable military grade materials. They also support veteran jobs across the country through their veteran-owned manufacturing partners, brand ambassador program, and their own employees
Ready for what's next
At the Academy of Music Production Education and Development (AMPED) in Louisville, KY, parents like Danette use the free Applied Digital Skills curriculum to expand their skill sets, bolster their resumes, and power their job searches.
Building better futures
Jake Foreman of New Mexico Community Capital, a nonprofit organization based in Albuquerque, uses the free Applied Digital Skills curriculum to help Native American entrepreneurs learn new skills to grow their businesses.
On a mission
After retiring from the military, Kevin began brewing beer with the help of YouTube tutorials. Less than two years later, he and Meredith founded a successful craft brewery whose mission is to give back to veterans and their community.
Inspiring Riders Worldwide
As a bike enthusiast, Ryan McFarland couldn’t wait to share his love for riding with his two-year-old son. Instead of waiting for his son to grow old enough to use a traditional bike, Ryan invented a pedal-less bike that his toddler could ride immediately. He started Strider Bikes in 2007 and has since sold 2.5 million bikes worldwide, bringing joy to little riders in 78 countries. Today, international sales account for 60% of all Strider Bikes sold annually.
Bayou Without Borders
Louisiana Crawfish Company started out small 35 years ago. Now, this family business ships two million pounds of seafood all across the country. Here’s how they did it.
Aspiring IT Support Specialist
After years working as a hairdresser and cosmetology teacher, Melinda decided to make a career change. She recently earned a Google IT Support Professional Certificate through her local community college, and is on her way to becoming an IT support specialist.
Level-up Your Business
When Dr. Tye and Courtney Caldwell discovered that 40% of salon and barbershop space goes unused every day, they saw an opportunity. The husband-and-wife duo created ShearShare, an app that connects salon and barbershop owners to stylists who can fill empty chairs in their shops in more than 400 cities worldwide.
Immigrants, Activists, Founders
For Civic Eagle founder Damola Ogundipe, improving democracy wasn’t just a business opportunity—it was personal. Inspired by years of attempting to navigate our legal system as an undocumented immigrant in Minnesota, Damola created Enview, an app designed to make legislation accessible and transparent. Now, advocacy groups (as wells as interested voters) can discover and track legislation, and pin-point the exact areas that they need to focus on to make real social and legislative change.
Find a Founder Community
Possip is an app that prompts parents for weekly feedback on how schools and teachers are doing and then turns that parent engagement into data that schools use to track trends, solve problems, and bring joy to teachers and parents.
Bringing new opportunities to Chicago
At the Gateway Program at Richard J. Daley College in Chicago, students like Rutilia and Ulises uses Google's Applied Digital Skills curriculum to build practical computer skills that can help them prepare and succeed in new jobs.
Drawing from experience
Wife-and-wife team Morgan and Arley founded Ladyfingers Letterpress in Colorado Springs after their own wedding invitation went viral. As they grew, they learned to use digital tools to reach new customers near and far. Now they ship their hand-printed greeting cards worldwide, with half of their sales originating from their website.
On the move
Marine veteran Noah Currier learned to use digital tools to grow his online apparel company Oscar Mike. As revenue increases, it’s used to fund his Oscar Mike Foundation which keeps injured veterans on the move through adaptive sports.
The next step in American made
Making shoes is Sara's passion. Making them in America is her mission. The web is making it simpler for her to connect with more customers, and Google is helping.
Build a career that works for you
As a military spouse, Kelly moved 5 times over 6 years, which made it difficult to build a long-term career despite her education and work experience. This changed when she found a job as a program manager where she can work from home–and stay on remotely after her next move.
Accelerating a career with the help of Goodwill
Through Grow with Google, Google.org provided Goodwill with a grant to launch the Goodwill Digital Career Accelerator®. This program helped Chelsea Rucker go from struggling to find housing to finding a job as a Data Center Technician at Google.
Keeping their dream alive
Chris’ grandparents opened Borgatti’s in 1935. As customers started retiring and moving out of their Bronx neighborhood, they asked Chris and his wife Joan when they would start shipping. So Joan learned to put up a website, and now they ship their handmade pasta all over the country.
Carrying a legacy
Pierre opened a handbag factory after immigrating to America. Decades later, when stores and little boutiques that were buying from them started going out of business, his son Alex learned to use digital tools to reach customers online.
Olivet Institutional Baptist Church, and its Pastor Jawanza Colvin, partnered with Google to bring IT Support training to people in the neighborhood of Fairfax, Ohio.
Quilting a community together
Jenny Doan turned a home-grown shop into the number one provider of precut quilting fabrics.
From military life to civilian life
U.S. Army veteran Daniel worked with Grow with Google and the USO for support during his transition to civilian life and was one of the first people to test Google’s military code job search tool (MOS, AFSC, NEC, etc).
Serving our heroes
Rockford firefighter Luke Schneider and his wife Kate learned to use digital tools to make the Fire Dept. Coffee website their storefront. Since then, they’ve shipped coffee all over the world and donated a portion of every order to firefighter and military charities.
Making it from scratch
After learning how to make donuts online, Teresa and Arwyn left their waitressing jobs to open Glam Doll Donuts. As more donut shops started popping up around Minneapolis, the pair learned to use digital tools to bring new customers into their stores and grow their business.
IT Support Specialist
With the help of Google's IT Support Professional Certificate, Daniel Anderson grew his love for technology into a career helping other people.
The biggest little ski company
After turning their passion for powder days into a business, Luke and Casey learned to use digital tools to sell their handmade skis to customers all over the world.
Lighting the way for their employees
Ted Barber began Prosperity Candle with the mission of employing refugee women who, through federal programs, have relocated from war zones to America. Over the years, the company learned to use digital tools to reach customers across the country and around the world, and help train women working with them from afar.
Preserving an artform
Rev. Georgiette Morgan-Thomas put off her plans for retirement and purchased the S & S Hat Company in Philadelphia, PA when it announced its closure in 2015. Together with her son, Robert, she started American Hats in 2016, and turned to the web to help reinvigorate the business.
Knitting a new way
Gina Locklear and her parents helped their hometown’s beloved sock business thrive in a new age.
Learning to code
Sara always had a passion for technology, but she didn’t always have access to it in the rural town where she grew up. She recently received a Developer Scholarship from Google, and is pursuing her dream of becoming a web developer.
Serving the community
Mason’s Creamery started as a mobile ice cream business. But through a lot of hard work and the help of digital tools, Jesse and Helen turned a 60-year-old boarded up ice cream shop into a neighborhood hub.
After closing down her bakery, Shennice Cleckley learned how to grow her business by bringing her sweets online.
Rusty, Lynn, Justin and Payton created new opportunities in their hometown by teaching coal miners how to code.
Champions of cheese
Ken McNulty helps family farms and factories reach cheese lovers nationwide.
Brian Barber found a way to keep growing his family’s century-old retail business.
Building a dream
Richard and Devin started building motorcycles with the help of local Amish craftsmen. As their business has grown, they’ve found a way to sell their bikes across the country.
Finding second chances at Goodwill
Kevin Jefferson goes from bartender to full time IT professional with Goodwill’s help.
Nisha Blackwell found a way to turn salvaged fabric into handcrafted bowties and a growing business.
Remaking a legacy
Scott Baker stays nimble in the 21st century while maintaining his bakery’s 19th-century roots.
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