INTERNET giant Google combined forces with South Lakeland organisations to bring a business support programme to Kendal.

The Google Juice Bar initiative is designed to help a range of businesses – from those just starting out and creating their first website to companies seeking to improve their existing website and online marketing.

Representatives from 160 local businesses attended the Kendal event, co-hosted by Invest in South Lakeland and South Lakeland District Council and held at the Brewery Arts Centre on Friday.

Afterwards, May Crawford, of Kendal-based Different Strokes Painting and Decorating, said: “It has been a really good event. We are already doing a lot online and with social media but this will help us do even more.”

The event was designed for those starting out and creating their first website, through to businesses wishing to improve their online marketing.

Head of Google Juice Gori Yahaya said 36 per cent of UK businesses had no internet presence but those small and medium-sized firms who had developed digitally had seen eight times faster growth than those who hadn’t.

His presentation included key advice on how to understand digital customers, how to maximise your online ranking, and make the most of social media.