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Big tech for small business: a path to COVID-19 recovery

The words “big tech” often conjure an image of high-security data centers and glass-clad office buildings tucked away in a far-off California town. And on Capitol Hill, tech companies have become a hot topic, as hearings with leading technology firms are given center stage in the national media.

But while lawmakers raise important questions when it comes to navigating the future of our technology industry, they often fail to recognize the enormous benefits that free and low-cost technology platforms have provided small businesses and communities in every corner of the country.

The impact of leading technology companies extends far outside of Silicon Valley. Driving growth in new, digitally connected job opportunities and enabling an unprecedented level of virtual connectivity for even the smallest businesses, tech platforms have allowed local communities to rebound from crisis and chart a path to rapid growth.

During COVID-19, these services have allowed small business owners to stay connected with employees and customers, connecting online to tackle work that would – just a few years ago – only have been possible in-person.

These days, Colorado itself has become a tech hub. The Denver Tech Center has become home to an incredible number of major, enterprising tech firms.

Additionally, this year, CBRE’s “Scoring Tech Talent” report ranked Colorado Springs the number 4 fastest growing tech market in North America, citing 15 percent growth in the tech labor force in the past five years alone.

But the biggest benefit these companies provide our state is in opportunities for small businesses, present and future. During COVID-19, dreams of growth can seem distant, as businesses work to simply survive our economic downturn. But tech platforms offer a blueprint to growth, one that takes the risk out of making the leap to digital markets.

Advances in technology over the last few years have allowed me to update our business records from home, tele-conference with colleagues, and work collaboratively in ways that suit this emerging work environment.

Additionally, our small multi-media production agency digiZuk is able to use these “big tech” platforms to create exciting new projects for our clients, from online fundraisers to virtual tours, which have been vital to replace in-person events, meetings and trade shows in the face of COVID-19.  Together, that has undoubtedly saved our business and my job, as well as many others in small businesses around the country.

Day to day at digiZuk, we work with clients across the board – from small companies like ourselves to big firms seeking large-scale projects. And for teams of all sizes, finding these cost-effective online platforms are the foundation for their viability, scalability and digital transformations, allowing them to keep pace with market innovations.

Platforms like Google’s G-Suite, Vimeo and Zoom have allowed digiZuk, our clients, and our sister company Spark4 to not just survive this global pandemic, but to stretch our imagination, getting more creative and innovative, ultimately thriving in ways we could not imagine just 7 months ago.

The messaging coming out of Congress these days often seems to focus on anti-tech ideas, rather than recognizing the crucial supporting role these companies have played since the pandemic began – and of course, even further back than that. But with sensible, pro-growth political leadership, Colorado can leverage its place as a growing tech hub to ensure all of our state’s local communities have the opportunity to transition online during COVID-19 and benefit from the digital market for years to come.

“Big tech” has an even bigger role in growing small businesses and seeing us through these difficult times. Congress and other state leaders should look to those of us on the ground – the local leaders in small business growth and development – as they examine digital technologies and the tech industry in the future.