Africa: Google launches Hustle Academy to train 5,000 SMEs and Entrepreneurs

  • Google has unveiled the Google Hustle Academy to train SMEs and entrepreneurs across Africa 
  • The Academy is a practical educational platform with interactive activities and instruction by subject experts
  • It also provides access to a global network of mentors and alumni

Business training

Google has announced that 5,000 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and entrepreneurs in Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa will receive free training to help their business thrive via the newly launched Hustle Academy.

Google Hustle Academy is a Bootcamp-style training program designed to help entrepreneurs and small businesses owners position their businesses for investment opportunities and build viable business models for the future.

The Hustle Academy is a practical educational program with interactive activities and instruction by subject experts. It also provides access to a global network of mentors and alumni.

Business owners will undergo five days of hands-on training and receive 3,000 hours of training on fundamental aspects of business to help them navigate the challenges faced by SMEs in Africa.

The training curriculum includes strategic growth sessions including business growth strategy, building digital marketing roadmaps, discovering and evaluating funding routes and how to pitch for success among other topics.

Rosemary Momanyi-Opiyo, Small and Medium Business Lead, East and West Africa said they launched the initiative to support SMEs who are the engine that drives growth for any economy.

“In Africa, SMEs account for around 80% of jobs and are a significant source of economic growth. In order to grow the economy and increase employment, it is crucial that small businesses have access to the right tools, training and funding to scale up,” she said.

“The Hustle Academy’s mission is to assist entrepreneurs navigate the business challenges they face by providing them with the appropriate tools and knowledge,” she added.

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The program is open to businesses that have been in operation for more than a year, have developed a business strategy and defined their product or service offering, and are aiming to grow. They must also have made a profit in the previous 12 months or be within 1-3 months of breaking even.

Since 2017, Google has been providing digital skills training in Africa, and while there has been a measurable success in growing these skills, SMBs need more hands-on support.

Google said the core intent of the Hustle Academy is to support SMBs with the right skills, resources, and access to thrive and grow.

“We hope that through the Hustle Academy training this year, we will assist 5,000 SMEs and entrepreneurs across Africa take their business to the next level and scale our efforts to help even more businesses in the future,” added the SMB lead.

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The deal comes months after the company announced a plan to invest $1billion over 5 years to support Africa’s digital transformation.

The investment focuses on enabling fast, affordable internet access for more Africans; building helpful products; supporting entrepreneurship and small business, and helping nonprofits to improve lives across Africa.

The announcement was made at Google’s first-ever Google for Africa event, held virtually and live-streamed.

The planned $1billion investment announced by Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet, will include enabling affordable internet access and building helpful products.

Pichai said Google is building global infrastructure to help bring faster internet to more people and lower connectivity costs.

The subsea cable Equiano will run through South Africa, Namibia, Nigeria, and St Helena and connect the continent with Europe.

Pichai said internet access is also hampered by the affordability of smartphones and said that android has developed a device locking technology as part of the android platform that will enable partners to offer financed devices.

“Google has collaborated with Kenya’s largest carrier Safaricom to support the launch of the first “Device Financing” plan in Kenya, and will expand this initiative across Africa with partners like Airtel, MKOPA, MTN, Orange, Transsion Holdings and Vodacom, and more.

These partnerships will help millions of first-time smartphone users gain access to quality, affordable Android smartphones.

Wanjiku Njuguna is a Kenyan-based business reporter with experience of more than eight years.

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