Google hustle Academy on Thursday awarded 15 small business owners with N75 million under its funding initiative.
This is as 5,300 entrepreneurs across Africa gaduated from the hustle academy, which was designed to address specific challenges faced by small and medium-sized businesses(SMBs).
In his remarks, Olumide Balogun, country director, Google West Africa stated that the initiative aims to provide a combination of financial assistance, mentorship, and business tool access to small businesses.
According to him, graduation marks a continuation of the program’s impact, with over 10,300 entrepreneurs having participated since its inception in 2022.
“Google as a company is always very interested in how we organise the world’s information. We make it universally accessible and useful. And what we are doing today is the hustle Academy which was started in 2022, to help small businesses access the skills and the mentorship and most importantly the funding that they need to be able to scale in a way that grows their business where they can start to not only sell locally, but also export and also create jobs for the economy and for the country.
“Today, we’re excited to be announcing 15 recipients of our very first possible academic fund, as well as graduating the class of 2023 for the Google hustle Academy.
“The passion and resilience shown by these SMBs are truly inspiring. The Hustle Academy is a testament to what focused training and resources can achieve. We are not just celebrating their graduation today; we are recognizing their potential to reshape and invigorate the Nigerian business landscape.
“The motivation for us is that in any country or in any community that we are, we want to be responsible contributors supporting businesses there to grow by giving them the skills that they need.”
He explained one of the priorities for the company is using technology to help catalyse growth for people and businesses.
The beneficiaries of the fund include: Ifeoma Augusta Anselem – Rae’s Clothing; Femi Bolaji – Wauley Projects Limited; Nafisa Abdulrazaq Sabo – Pinch N’ Dash; Funmilola Moronke Agbayewa – Segunfunmi Foods Nigeria Limited among others.
In his remarks, Charles Odii, the director-general of Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) said that the initiative was in line with the mandate of SMEDAN to boost job creation, poverty alleviation, livelihood enhancement and rural industrialisation.
He explained yhat the agency is currently empowering small business clusters in local government with finance for equipment and working capital.
“Another one is a conditional grant scheme where we give money ranging from N50,000 to a lot of small businesses in the different localities where they operate, and that money is a grant, and it is to empower small businesses to run their operations. But it is on one condition that they can commit towards employing at least one person.
“So imagine that we give that grant to hundreds of small businesses and the promise that they can employ one person, the multiplier effect is that we’ve created 200,000 jobs automatically. So these are some of the things that we do,” he said.
Chigozie Bashua, CEO, the Nutplace limited, and a beneficiary of the fund, said, “I joined the Google hustle Academy to acquire digital tools and technology to improve my business and I must say the training is worthwhile.
“Being one of the recipients of the fund is fantastic and I’m excited about it. I want the training to be sustained because it is helpful a lot of SMEs in the country.”