On Thursday, March 18, Google announced plans to invest more than $500 million in South Carolina, expanding its data center footprint in Berkeley County. Nationally, Google plans to invest more than $7 billion and create at least 10,000 new, full-time Google jobs across the United States this year.
“I believe a lasting economic recovery will come from local communities, and the people and small businesses that give them life,” said Sundar Pichai, CEO, Google and Alphabet. “Google wants to be a part of that recovery. That’s why we plan to invest over $7 billion in offices and data centers across the U.S. and create at least 10,000 new full-time Google jobs in the U.S. this year.”
Google has called South Carolina home since 2007, creating over 800 jobs in a variety of full-time and external supplier roles. Google.org has awarded more than $2M in grants to nonprofits and organizations based in South Carolina, including through the local Google.org Impact Challenge Columbia. Grants to the Berkeley County School District (BCSD) and Fast Forward have provided free internet to households with school-aged children and technology education and computer access to underserved South Carolinians. Most recently, Google has been supporting distance learning during Covid-19 with computer donations, and the expansion of our Rolling Study Halls program, now Rolling Hot Spots, to support digital connectivity and remote learning for students in the Berkeley County School District.
Google also released their 2020 Economic Impact Report today, sharing how 23,500 businesses, publishers, and nonprofits in South Carolina used Google products last year to increase their online presence and connect with the people and communities they serve — generating $4.02 billion in economic activity in 2020.
Bobby’s BBQ in Fountain Inn, S.C., was highlighted in Google’s nationwide Economic Impact Report in a case study that details how they used digital tools to increase their online presence and reach customers. Shortly after opening in October 2018, lines were around the building and people were driving three hours from Charleston to give it a try. COVID-19 complicated things—indoor dining was banned—but Tay and Sarah Nelson moved quickly, putting their menu online and adding a delivery option. Demand continued to climb. Today, Bobby’s BBQ is thriving, and Tay and Sarah use their Business Profile on Google to respond to their reviews and YouTube to learn everything from growing their business to doing their own plumbing.
“I call it YouTube University and use it for business tips and inspiration. Before I buy any equipment, I check out videos. I go there every day—no exaggeration,” says Tay Nelson, Co-founder of Bobby’s BBQ.
Bobby’s BBQ is one of many American businesses that used the internet to adapt to new challenges last year. According to a newly released poll conducted by Greenberg, in partnership with the Connected Commerce Council from February 17 to March 11, 2021, 98 percent of U.S. based small business owners say that digital tools have been helpful in running their business, with 80 percent incorporating new digital tools and strategies due to COVID. Looking forward, small business owners remain optimistic about the future of their businesses, with 93 percent believing they will maintain or increase their use of digital tools post pandemic.
About Google in South Carolina
Google has called Berkeley County, SC and the Lowcountry home for more than 10 years. Locally, Google has been a proud supporter of area school districts, most recently, supporting distance learning during Covid-19 with computer donations, and the expansion of our Rolling Study Halls program, now Rolling Hot Spots, to support digital connectivity and distance learning for students in the Berkeley County School District. Since 2008, Google employees based in South Carolina—with matching contributions from Google—have donated over $811K in charitable giving to nonprofits. Since 2011, Google employees in South Carolina have also served 7,100+ hours of volunteer and pro bono work with local nonprofits and organizations.
About Google’s Economic Impact Report
The Economic Impact Report details Google’s national and local impact in all 50 U.S. states, plus Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico. It has been released annually for the last 12 years. In 2020, Google Search, Google Play, YouTube, and Google advertising tools helped provide $426 billion of economic activity for more than two million American businesses, nonprofits, publishers, creators and developers.