This morning I had the fantastic opportunity to hear first-hand the issues affecting businesses in Aberavon thanks to the return of the innovative Google Digital Garage event to our constituency.
The unique virtual event, which was last run in 2016 at the St Paul’s Centre in Port Talbot, was attended by businesses from taxi firms and uniform suppliers to coffee shops and digital media companies and also provided free digital marketing training from industry experts.
As Wales enters a 17-day firebreak period to help tackle the spread of Covid-19 it is more important than ever that our businesses can learn how to make the most of digital technology available to them.
We are living in a global digital world where technology is accelerating at a rapid pace and the last few months has seen our use and dependence on technology increase tenfold.
I wanted to bring this event to Aberavon to harness the creativity we have here and help individuals and businesses make the most of the opportunities that the digital age presents us and increase digital talent.
Roger Williams, Chair of Viva Port Talbot, the Business Improvement District in Port Talbot, took part in today’s Digital Garage and said: “As a Business Improvement District we are really keen that businesses take advantage of digital training.
“For me it is really important that every business can take advantage of digital technology to promote their business.
“We recently produced a short video (available below) which was really successful in attracting more people into the town centre.
Our town centre is still open throughout the local restrictions. You can shop locally and stay safe in Port Talbot and our businesses look forward to seeing you!
Posted by Viva Port Talbot on Friday, 9 October 2020
“The video showed it is safe to shop in Port Talbot town centre and that our businesses are open and there to greet you.
“Unfortunately, two weeks later we are where we are.
“We are continuing to support our businesses and continuing to listen to our businesses.
“We had a range of activities planned but we are ready to listen to how we can do things differently and that’s why, for me, having Google give us this training is really important.”
David Rees, Welsh Labour Member of the Senedd for Aberavon, also attended and said: “The current situation does present us with new opportunities to reach areas we thought we wouldn’t have reached before.
“Let’s take advantage of what technology is now offering us.
“Because of the pandemic, technology in this area is going to increase.
“We just don’t know what the future holds but we do need to ensure that businesses keep on going.
“We need businesses, people need businesses, it’s just a way of how we present ourselves to the customers.
“This is what digital technology offers us and this means that Port Talbot, once again, can continue being a good shopping centre for many people.”