Ixelles (Brussels), La Huppe (Wallonia), and Aartselaar (Flanders) have won the Google “eTown award” for towns which know how best to benefit from the economic opportunities offered by the internet, according to a Google Belgium press release on Friday. The winners were chosen following a study by BCG (Boston Consulting Group), commissioned by Google. Thierry Geerts, Managing Director of Google Belgium, awarded the eTown 2014 prizes to representatives of the winning towns in the presence of Alexander De Croo, Minister of Development Cooperation, Digital Agenda, Telecom and Postal Services. The prize, awarded for the second year running, provides an official acknowledgement to towns where SMEs best take advantage of the web, adds the press release.
Google launched this award for the first time in 2013. Grobbendock (Flanders), Wavre (Wallonia), and Auderghem (Brussels) came out top.
This year, Google once again rated towns according to 6 criteria: the number of businesses using a .be domain, the number of parcels delivered per neighbourhood and per family, the number of one-time visitors per day on town websites, the number of businesses advertising online through Google AdWords, 4G coverage, and the average download and upload speeds in each town.
Minister De Croo reckons that the digital economy translates into jobs, growth and prosperity.
Thierry Geerts shares this opinion: “By knowing how to capitalise on the full economic potential of the internet, individual businessmen gain access to new growth opportunities, which helps boost the Belgian economy. Every Belgian town can be part of this upward spiral. The eTown award proves that businesses do not always need to be located in a large city to be successful”, he explained.