Missoulian: Tester’s Kalispell workshop brings together Internet giant, small businesses

KALISPELL – Hundreds of business owners and entrepreneurs gathered Friday in Kalispell, hoping to find the capital and the know-how to become, perhaps, the next Google.

And at least some of the day’s advice came straight from the virtual horse’s mouth, with the Internet search giant itself making an appearance at the small-business workshop convened by Montana Sen. Jon Tester.

“Montana is home to some of America’s hardest-working, most innovative self-starters in business,” Tester said. “What we’re doing with these workshops is making sure all entrepreneurs in Montana are aware of the tools out there to help grow their businesses, and boost jobs for Montana.”

Bringing Google to rural Montana, to a crowd of not a few mom-and-pop business owners, made sense because every big business started as a small one.

“We were actually founded in a garage,” said Addisu Demissie, Google’s small business outreach specialist.

Some of Friday’s advice was high-tech, looking to the future of e-commerce – how to build an online presence, how to link customers through the Internet, how to combine search engines with social networks with advertising with daily news to create a perfect storm of commerce.

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