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Google helps Kansas generate $1.92 billion in 2021 through web-based services

Manhattan business highlighted for overwhelming digital success
FILE - Prairiewood Retreat and Preserve is highlighted in Google's 2021 Economic Impact Review...
FILE - Prairiewood Retreat and Preserve is highlighted in Google's 2021 Economic Impact Review for its overwhelming success in digital efforts.(WIBW)
Published: Apr. 13, 2022 at 10:53 AM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - In 2021, Google connected Kansans with businesses throughout the state generating about $1.92 billion in economic activity through its web-based services.

On Wednesday, April 13, Google says it released its Economic Impact Report for Kansas, which indicates it helped provide $1.92 billion in economic activity for tens of thousands of Kansans in 2021. It said the contribution came through businesses, publishers, nonprofits, creators and developers in the state who used Google products to increase their online presence and connect them with the communities they serve.

Google noted that more than 181,000 Kansas businesses received requests for directions, phone calls, bookings, reviews and other direct connections to customers from its web service in 2021.

Google highlighted Prairiewood Retreat and Preserve in Manhattan for its success in the use of digital tools to reach customers.

Founded by Beck Katzenmeier and her husband Kail in 2010, Google said Prairiewood is a boutique retreat with accommodations, event space and community programs on nearly 500 acres of privately preserved tallgrass prairie. The business used Google Ads from the start to spread worked about lodging and recreational opportunities on the preserve, as well as YouTube videos so prospective guests can explore the property. It said the company’s revenue and guest numbers increased 110% year-over-year in 20221 - outpacing the double-digit YoY growth it had seen for the past five years.

To help more Kansans access the program, Google announced a new $100 million Google Career Certificates Fund meant to drive over $1 billion in aggregate wage gains to support economic mobility for tens of thousands of underserved workers. The Certificates are also free to all community colleges and career and technical education high schools to add to their curriculum.

Google said it has committed $185 million to the Opportunity Finance Network which enabled it to establish the Grow with Google Small Business Fund and OFN’s Grant Program funded by Google.org. It said the fund delivered low-interest loans to over 50 community development financial institutions - including AltCap, Primary Care Development Center, Citizens Potawatomi Community Development Corporation and others with services in the state who in turn provided loans to underserved small businesses.

Over the last two years, Google noted that the loans and grants were disbursed to OFN-member CDFIs, including $50 million to support Black-owned businesses.

Google also said its Google Fiber has provided high-speed, high bandwidth internet services to the Greater Kansas City area - its first market - and 13 Kansas municipalities since 2012. It said over 100 libraries, community centers, municipal facilities and nonprofits in Wyandotte and Johnson counties get Google Fiber gigabit service for free through the Community Connections program.

Additionally, Google said residents in 216 public housing units in Kansas City get gigabit internet service for free through the Gigabit Communities program.

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