Google Earmarks $3m Grants to Support Businesses across Africa

Google has announced new initiatives to support African businesses with grants, Nigeria inclusive.

Google Nigeria Country Director, Juliet Ehimuan, who announced the initiatives during the virtual Google Economic Recovery Roundtable, held, recently, said to provide assistance to vulnerable populations, has set aside $3 million in grants to nonprofits that support education, entrepreneurship and women empowerment across Africa.

According to her, $500,000 of the amount would go towards a grant to the Praekelt Foundation, a software development non-profit that builds open-source, scalable mobile technologies and solutions to improve the health and wellbeing of underprivileged people, in order to help train micro and small businesses in Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa.

“In an effort to help job seekers acquire new skills while they look for opportunities, Google is providing underserved communities and job seekers with $750,000 in Information Technology (IT) support scholarships through across Africa. Job seekers can also access the Grow with Google training portal for help in growing their careers or businesses at their own pace and through flexible and personalised training courses.

“For educational institutions and teachers, Google is working with partners across Africa, through Google for Education, to help deploy its suite of education products in schools and help 500,000 students continue learning. To help teachers keep teaching, Google aims to give 25,000 educators access to free online training sessions and resources, such as Teach From Anywhere.

Google is also giving a grant of $250,000 to organisations in Nigeria, which are developing programs and tools to boost literacy for children in low-income schools in the country,” Ehimuan said.

She further explained Google would set up a digital hub providing free tools and resources to businesses and individuals. Through the hub, 500,000 small businesses will receive help getting online or improving their digital presence through Google My Business (GMB) which helps them connect with millions of users every month.

“Small businesses have been hardest hit during this COVID-19 period. Many of them have had to figure out quickly how to pivot their operations to a ‘digital-first’ approach. Yet, there remains a gap between those who can access these online opportunities and those who can’t. That’s the gap we want to bridge with these initiatives,” Ehimuan said.

She added that the tech company’s initiatives would address the need for funding, training and services across identified sectors, including support for 500,000 SMBs and 25,000 teachers.

“This support includes a partnership with the Nigerian Ministry of Youth and Sports Development. The partnership will provide support for youth-owned SMBs. It will also provide support for jobseekers in Nigeria to help them acquire marketable skills through certification and training programs, and involve supporting programs that enable and improve access to quality education across the region,” Ehimuan said.

The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr. Sunday Dare, who was pleased with the initiatives, said the partnership between Google and the Ministry of Youth and Social Development, would motivate Nigerian youths to become more innovative to explore their world of technology.

According to the Minister, Google partnership would enhance Google’s execution plans towards achieving a renewed commitment to support small businesses and individuals in Nigeria to recover, following negative slowdowns resulting from COVID-19.

“We are focused on creating an enabling environment that promotes youth and economic development in Nigeria. This partnership with Google in Nigeria is critical at this period and we look forward to seeing the positive impact it will have on SMBs’ recovery, enhancing the skills of jobseekers and supporting the education sector,” Dare said.

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