The internet giant, with the help of the Countryside Alliance, surveyed the web to discover the small towns and villages which were seeing the most growth in firms conducting their business online, and discovered the two fastest growing internet economies were in the West.
Braunton in north Devon has seen a 44 per cent rise in online growth, with Corsham not far behind with 39 per cent. And of the top 20 towns seeing the most growth, another three were from the West – the Wiltshire communities of Marlborough, Malmesbury and Holt, near Trowbridge.
Yesterday in Corsham, a Californian sprinkle of sunshine, in the form of a Google-hosted juice bar, gave internet entrepreneurs the chance to find out how to do the business better online.
The juice bar, in Rudloe Hall, was welcomed by local councillors. “There is considerable academic and business interest in exploiting digital opportunities in Corsham,” said town councillor Allan Bosley.
“Businesses here are particularly attuned to making the most of the internet. The town council is currently exploring the idea of its own app, which will be launched at the beginning of August.”
“Corsham also has very quick internet speeds, which has enabled many local folk to work from home and allowed businesses to open up to the international marketplace,” he added.
Google UK managing director Dan Cobley sang the town’s praises. “Corsham may be considered small in size, but has proven itself to be a formidable entrepreneurial centre, as seen by its exceptional growth in online business,” he said.
A few miles away in Malmesbury, the internet is also proving itself the place for new businesses, whether it be self-employed people working from home on their own, to firms doing more and more of their business online.
“We are delighted that Malmesbury has been crowned one of Google’s Rural Digital Trailblazers,” said Paul Baker, the president of the town’s chamber of commerce.
“It recognises the ability of our local businesses to adapt to the online world.” Malmesbury has a long history as an entrepreneurial town with a strong small business community.
“Research the chamber commissioned recently highlighted the importance of using multiple distribution channels for business to market and advertise their products and services so it’s great that local businesses are recognising this,” he added.
Joining Google and the local internet business folk in Corsham was local MP Duncan Hames. He said: “In the modern economy, internet connectivity is critical to business growth.”
“I’m delighted that Corsham has been recognised by Google and the Countyside Alliance as one of the country’s top five fastest-growing rural online business centres. I hope this encourages other local businesses in the area to take advantage of the offer of a free digital consultation do business online and grow their businesses using the internet’s tools.”