“Google is expanding its digital workshop programme to include Hungarian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and plans to contact at least 15,000 SMEs this year to contribute to the development of their online skills via its online teaching platform and through providing personal advice and organising conferences”, Director of Google Hungary Edina heal said at a press conference on Thursday in Budapest.

According to the statement issued to the press, Google has developed a joint plan of events with the Hungarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Modern Enterprises Programme to ensure that as many enterprises as possible have access to its free training courses.

The statement also points out that based on an index assessing the digital economy and society’s level of digital competence, Hungary is currently in 21st place out of the European Union’s 28 member states. According to the index, Hungary has performed worst within the field of business digitalisation and e-commerce. This can be explained by the fact that Hungarian SMEs are still not fully using digital instruments. Only 12 percent of Hungarian SMEs currently do business online, and only 4.5 percent of these ship to other EU member states. According to Ms. Heal, the expansion of Google’s digital workshop programme is expected to improve this index.

Parliamentary State Secretary Bence Rétvári from the Ministry of Human Capacities stressed that EU regulations must be made more flexible and VAT must be reduced to enable everyone to have the cheapest possible access to the internet, and this is why Hungary is reducing the level of VAT on internet access. The State Secretary added that by the end of 2018 30 megabit/second internet access will be available to everyone on Hungary and every single settlement in the country will have at least one institution of public area that provides free Wi-Fi.

Edina Heal added that in addition to the digital development of SMEs, Google is also placing major emphasis on people who live in the most disadvantaged areas and on the occupants of children’s homes. Accordingly, in cooperation with the Foundation for Technological Education google.org has launched the so-called Code Club, which teaches children the basics of computer programming.

Managing Director of the Foundation for Technological Education Zsófia Major explained with regard to the Club that teaching has begun in 8 children’s homes, 3 in Budapest and 5 in the agglomeration, with the help of 13 trained teachers. The programme is also providing the institutions with the required equipment, she added.