Search giant Google and partner Intuit are offering North Carolina businesses that are not online a chance to establish a web presence – for free.

The two companies are offering a web domain – or address – a web site and hosting at no charge for one year. Training and web tools also are being offered at no charge.

The goal is to help the 69 percent of businesses in North Carolina that do not yet have a website, Google said, citing its own research.

After one year, companies can choose to remain part of the Google-Intuit program and pay monthly fees for hosting as well as the domain or move the site and address elsewhere, a spokesperson for Google says.

“You can keep the domain. It can point to another site that is not on the Intuit platform,” the spokesperson explained.

At the website creation page, the “my” listed next to domain name is just a sample. The “My” is not required,” she added.

To further help businesses and entrepreneurs, Google will host a one-day event in Charlotte of Feb. 24 to provide hands-on instruction as well as counseling.

Called “Get Your Business Online,” the Carolina initiative is part of a campaign across the U.S. and in other countries by Google to broaden the reach of e-commerce.

The U.S. Small Business and Technology Development Commission is working with Google and Intuit on the effort.

“The NC SBTDC is very excited to partner with Google to offer this opportunity for North Carolina small businesses to develop a free website and gain greater understanding of the importance of having their business on the Internet,” said Scott Daugherty, executive director of the North Carolina Small Business and Technology Development Center, in a statement. “The expert training provided at the conference will be beneficial to those small businesses that attend and help them better understand the benefits and requirements to gain an effective presence on the Web.”

Visit this website for details.

For information about the Charlotte event, click here.

Google operates one of its huge data centers in western North Carolina and a mobile software development office in Chapel Hill.

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