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Google to offer SME growth programmes in Africa

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Google will introduce a series of programmes this month, to help boost the growth and recovery of small and medium enterprises (SME) in Africa’s post-COVID-19 economy.

The impact of COVID-19 has resulted in many small African businesses either scaling down or closing shop, with hundreds of job losses.

The Alphabet-owned company says it is introducing three key programmes in June, to help support entrepreneurs.

The new programmes include:

  • A new Google for Small Business portal to help small businesses find the solutions and guidance they need to establish an online presence and grow.
  • A series of SME skills webinars that have been tailored to help entrepreneurs use digital tools to connect with and grow their customer base. SMEs can register for free webinars to be held on 9, 16 and 23 June.
  • Shop Small Fridays – a social media video series that sheds light on SMEs across Africa.

On the African continent, SMEs account for around 90% of all businesses forming the backbone of the economy, according to Google.

While these companies account for 80% of the region’s employment, the COVID-19 pandemic and restricted business activity over the past year have had, and continue to have, a significant impact on them and the livelihoods of millions of people.

“As more consumers start their journey looking for products and services online, we want to do more to help retail small businesses digitise and better leverage online tools for growth,” saysMojolaoluwa Aderemi-Makinde, Google head of brand and reputation for Africa.

“One thing we know for sure is that when small businesses recover, African economies rebound and do well, and this benefits everyone.”

The Google for Small Business portal has been developed as a one-stop shop for small companies to get started on the Web and grow their digital presence, helping them choose the appropriate tools for online success and the achievement of their goals.

“This portal is all about supporting businesses as they get online. In a competitive business environment, digital technology helps to drive economic growth and job creation, while delivering valuable services to people in Africa,” continues Aderemi-Makinde.

This move comes less than a year after Google committed to helping more than 500 000 businesses, jobseekers and vulnerable people with support packages, including free business tools, training and grants.

These programmes are an illustration of Google’s ongoing commitment to ensuring small retail businesses on the continent have the right tools and skills to bounce back from the impact of the pandemic and drive the continent’s economy once again, notes Google.

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