Living in the Bay Area, you see daily reminders of how the Internet is rapidly changing how we all do business. Global tech companies in Silicon Valley serve as constant reminders that we live in a 21st Century economy, one that allows for business to occur around the world at the speed of light.

Internet companies provide their users profound benefits such as access to an almost limitless amount of information, the ability to connect with people in ways never before imagined, and the tools to harness and share the creativity of users with audiences worldwide.  Business owners in particular can now reach much larger audiences and promote themselves in more compelling ways, often at no cost.

In California, the Internet is a vital contributor to the state’s economy, helping propel the Golden State into one of the largest economies on the planet.  But this is not solely a result of the technology giants that call California their home; the Internet is boosting local economies and creating jobs all around the State.   For example, Fremont small businesses of all types in my district are using the Internet to market themselves, strengthen their bottom line, earn new customers, and ensure they remain competitive in a robust regional economy.  This story is lesser-told in this region but just as important — small businesses of all stripes are achieving success, creating jobs, and improving our economy by making the Internet an essential part of their business models.

Today, I will join The Internet Association and the Fremont Chamber of Commerce for a walking tour of several local businesses in my home district who have done just that. The goal of this Small Business Crawl is to witness first-hand how local entrepreneurs are utilizing the economic power of the Internet. The Crawl will take place in Fremont’s Irvington District, which has developed into a bustling neighborhood center.

The Small Business Crawl will give participants the opportunity to see how the Internet is serving as a local economic engine for small businesses. I look forward to meeting with these local business owners to hear directly from them how they are leveraging new innovative opportunities, helping to add value to their business model, while also allowing them to connect with new customers.

The tour will showcase some great local businesses located in Fremont, including:

It’s critical we work in our local communities with small businesses to ensure California continues to remain a leader in technology and that policy decisions we make support innovation and help grow local Internet economies across the state.