Web Summit 2019: Google accelerates sustainability startups
At Web Summit 2019, Google CSO Kate Brandt unveiled the company’s latest initiative aimed at driving the realisation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): the Google for Startups Accelerator.
The UN’s SDG’s, established in 2015 alongside the Paris Climate Agreement, are 17 ambitious but urgent targets for UN member states to accelerate the realisation of peace, prosperity and environmental stewardship by 2030.
Google’s new initiative is aimed at social impact startups focused on addressing social challenges around the globe, and will provide training, products and technical support to foster business growth and strategic success.
With the first six-month accelerator due to begin in early 2020, applications will soon open for eight to 10 startups to take part. A second six-month phase for further applicants will begin later in 2020.
“While investors are increasingly seeing the value in social impact startups, there are unique challenges in attracting the right investors, and competing with traditional startups who are focused primarily on growth or acquisition,” said Brandt in a 5 November blog post. “This accelerator will help participants connect and work with a wider base of potential investors.”
As reported by edie on 6 November, Google itself is facing renewed pressure from its employees to adopt more aggressive sustainability plans, such as the achievement of net-zero emissions by 2030, and the scrapping of contracts with fossil fuel companies.
With regard to the demand for net-zero emissions by 2030, CEO Sundar Pichai told the Financial Times: “It doesn’t seem unreasonable to me. We want to be ambitious in how we think about it. It definitely seems the kind of timeline by which we want to accomplish those things.”
How can technology help cut business costs?
Businesses are always looking for ways to cut costs and help increase profitability. Choosing quick fixes that reduce expenses, such as redundancies, can often decrease quality, and also impede the company’s reputation.
Upgrading technology and how the company use it can improve the business, although it may require an upfront investment, it will help save money in the long run. We take a look at some of the different ways that technology can help improve business costs.
Time is precious when you have a business, every hour counts, and the budget accounts for each hour, whether that be operating costs or paying employees. Implementing efficient processes is a way to decrease delays, and make sure the business runs smoothly.
Technology can help to quicken everyday duties such as:
- Communicating with team members
- Accessing and locating files
- Scheduling meetings and tasks
- Monitoring progress and results
- Managing annual leave and absences
Going paperless is becoming more common, and there are many advantages of paperless environments in the digital age. It eliminates the need for physical storage solutions, so you don’t need to pay for using an off-site storage facility. If you usually keep files in the office, storing them digitally will create more space so that you can grow your team.
With a paperless system filing documents no longer means printing them out, then having to search for them manually later on. Digital storage can be done in seconds, and retrieval involves a quick computer search. The reduction in employee work hours spent on menial tasks is significant.
Moving to the cloud
The 2021 Flexera State of the Cloud Report shows that COVID-19 has had a significant impact on cloud adoption in 2020. The report found that multi-cloud continues to be the dominant strategy, adopted by nearly all surveyed enterprises, 92% of respondents reported having a multi-cloud strategy. 82% are taking a hybrid approach, combining the use of both public and private clouds.
With cloud computing, businesses can store and access data over the internet no matter where they are. It helps employees who are located in different areas to collaborate in a highly convenient and secure manner. Cost saving is one of the biggest Cloud Computing benefits. It helps you to save substantial capital cost as it does not need any physical hardware investments. Also, you do not need trained personnel to maintain the hardware. The buying and managing of equipment is done by the cloud service provider.
Running your business digitally gives you the option to operate remotely, full or part-time. With employees working from home, it enables businesses to downsize or remove the office altogether, to save on rent costs. With minimal staff onsite there will be other savings such as electricity and cleaning. Having remote employees could also reduce the cost of serving refreshments/catering, which some companies offer.
Ensuring your staff members can operate efficiently and safely from home is extremely important. Providing equipment such as laptops, monitors and mobile phones is essential, but to also make sure these devices are secure and have sufficient security measures.
The past year forced businesses to adapt quickly to remote working, and video calls become the norm. Zoom, a popular video call app, generated $2.6 billion revenue in 2020, a 317% increase year-on-year. Instead of paying for travel for client meetings, you can conduct them for free through a video conference tool. You can also access or host webinars through video conferences.