It’s a pretty shocking number: 64 percent of Louisiana small businesses don’t have a website, according to U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, and are missing out on the economic opportunities of the Internet. At the request of Landrieu, who wrote to Google CEO Eric Schmidt on May 23 to request that one of its successful “Get Your Business Online” events come to the Acadiana region, approximately 10 Google reps will be at LITE Friday, Aug. 24. Those Google employees aim to help lower that figure.

Google is hosting “Louisiana Get Your Business Online” from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., an event that is free and open to the public. Landrieu and Lafayette City-Parish President Joey Durel will kick off the event at 9 a.m.

“As chair of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, I’m a proponent of private-public partnerships that aid small businesses,” Landrieu said in announcing the event. “Google’s website workshops will help get locally owned and operate companies online so they can sell their products and services in the digital marketplace.”

Landrieu said the company has demonstrated its commitment to small businesses by holding these free workshops that explain how to create a business website. Participants also receive a unique domain name without a charge for one year.

Creating a website is critical for small businesses, Landrieu noted, because 97 percent of people go online to find a local product or service. She said an online presence offers consumers the choice of spending their money locally, small businesses the chance to find new customers, and locally owned and operated companies the opportunity to grow. “We need to do all we can to assist the many small business owners and the self-employed to create a website that will maximize and achieve their full commercial capabilities,” she added.

“Google chose Lafayette as the best place for this workshop in Louisiana for many of the same reasons Lafayette thrives today — our world class technological resources including LUS Fiber, our strong economy, and our great location,” Durel said. “We encourage Lafayette businesses to take advantage of this opportunity as a tool to increase the individual web presences of our local companies and Lafayette’s web presence as a community as a whole.”

LITE is located at 537 Cajundome Boulevard. Those wishing to attend are encouraged to register at www.LouisianaGetOnline.com or call 1-800-986-6958.

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