Google Names Sarasota Digital Capital



Technology has captured the imagination of many business leaders in Sarasota. Now the concentration of tech in the city has gardened the attention of Google, which on Thursday named Sarasota as Florida's 2014 eCity "Digital Capital of America."

The award recognizes the city in each state with the strongest online business community, based on how aggressively the local companies use online technology to find new customers, connect with old ones and fuel the local economy.

"This recognition affirms both the resolve of local businesses to be globally competitive and the strength of our local tech savvy workforce," said Mark Huey, president and CEO of the Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County.

Sarasota stands alongside other digital capitals such as: Little Rock, Arkansas; Emeryville, California; Greenville, South Carolina; and Ann Arbor, Michigan. Of course, Little Rock is bevvied by proximity to the Walmart headquarters and Ann Arbor by companies built around the University of Michigan.

The awarding of the eCity Awards was done after an analysis by Google in partnership with Ipsos. Every city in each state was scored based on online advertising penetration using Google AdWords data, then by comparing the number of small businesses in each city that boasted high e-commerce profiles, based on the use of web tools like blogs, social media and eCommerce capability.

"Each answer was given a score and the scores from each business were aggregated to provide the city with a total score," Ipsos explains. "The city with the highest score in each region was then awarded eCity status."

Mayor Willie Shaw and City Manager Tom Barwin will host a ceremony this morning at The HuB building downtown in honor of the Digital Capital designation. "Being recognized by Google as Florida's 2014 eCity means we have the most robust e-business community in the State as determined by Google and research," said Barwin. "What a great foundation to build upon. With three universities, a vibrant downtown business center and digital business incubators, a San Francisco-like spirit of innovation and creativity is clearly in this community's business, academic and social DNA. Google algorithms have proven what many of us have suspected. Sarasota is open for digital, high tech oriented folks who enjoy cultural amenities and the world's greatest sunsets."

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