Giant Tech company, Google on Tuesday (September 15, 2020) announced plans to help business owners, job seekers, educational institutions, and vulnerable populations as they grapple with the “new normal” and begin to rebuild and recover from the impact of the COVID-19 crisis locally and across the continent.
The tech company’s initiatives will address the need for funding, training, and services across identified sectors, including support for 500,000 SMBs and 25,000 teachers.
According to a statement by Google, this support includes a partnership with the Nigerian Ministry of Youth and Sports Development. The partnership aims to provide support for youth-owned SMBs. It will also provide support for job seekers 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.
A digital hub has been set up by the tech giant to provide 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 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,” said Google Nigeria Country Director Juliet Ehimuan.
Google.org has also set aside $3million in grants to nonprofits that support education, entrepreneurship, and women empowerment across Africa. $500,000 of that is going 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.
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare said the country is 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.
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 IT support scholarships through Google.org 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.
Google is also giving a grant of $250,000 to organizations in Nigeria which are developing programs and tools to boost literacy for children in low-income schools in the country.
The tech gaint is also launching a new Marketing Kit tool to help people to put together marketing kits for their businesses while the free Market Finder tool (which includes updated insights for negotiating a COVID and post-COVID environment) is there to help with localisation, international payments and logistics for African businesses looking to reach new customers around the world.