Google and Sen. Chuck Grassley announced Cedar Falls has been named the 2014 eCity of Iowa. The eCity Awards recognize the strongest online business community in each state - the digital capitals of America. These cities’ businesses are embracing the web to find new customers, connect with existing clients and fuel their local economies.
“Our ‘eCity Awards’ recognize the new ‘digital capitals’ of America,” said Chris Russell from Google’s Council Bluffs Data Center. “We want to celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit of Cedar Falls—and the role that it plays in both creating jobs and sustaining local economies. With 97 percent of Internet-users looking for products and services online, it’s clear that success is about being connected.”
On October 15, Sen. Chuck Grassley, Cedar Falls Mayor Jon Crews and representatives from the Cedar Falls Utilities, Cedar Valley Alliance, Business and Community Services at the University of Northern Iowa, and the Small Business Development Center at UNI gathered at Scratch Cupcakery to celebrate this recognition. Scratch Cupcakery is a great example of a small business using the web to enhance customer service as well as expand their sales reach.
“Cedar Falls is committed to ensuring our businesses can be successful,” said Mayor Crews. “Thank you to Goole for recognizing the efforts of the city, Cedar Falls Utilities, Cedar Valley Alliance and Chamber to make our great city a place to do business.”
Google worked with an independent research firm IPSOS to analyze the online strength of local small businesses in cities in all fifty states and the Google and Cedar Falls is among the ranks of America’s leading cities in the digital economy.
Iowa businesses already know that Americans are turning to the Internet to look for local goods and services and businesses need to be where their customers are, and in 2014, that’s online. Yet, more than half of all U.S. small businesses do not have a website. Over the next three years, businesses that make use of the web are expected to grow 40% faster and are twice as likely to create jobs. With small businesses creating two-thirds of all new jobs, the potential impact of getting these businesses online is enormous. Google hopes that these “digital capitals” will become an inspiration to other areas—throughout the nation—of what can be accomplished by spearheading business development on the Web.
“The Internet has been a key tool to our expansion from one 600-foot storefront to four stores in Waterloo, Cedar Falls, Coralville and West Des Moines,” said Natalie Brown, owner of Scratch Cupcakery. “I can’t imagine this type of growth without the tools and the reach that the Internet provides. I appreciate the efforts of the Cedar Falls community to make it easier to do this. Everyone should be so lucky to have a community that cares about it businesses like this.”
For more information on the eCity intiative, please visit the website at www.google.com/ecities.