• Monday, March 04, 2024
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Aba businesses get Google’s digital skills training to ‘go global’

Google’s digital skills training

Legend in Nigeria, has it that Aba is the go-to place for any manufacturing need, particularly for items related to clothing; from actual cloths to footwear, the same one would find almost anywhere in the world.

In 2017, Kosiso Anekwe, CEO of Edubridge visited the industrial city where ‘anything can be made possible’, hoping to meet tailors and inform them of a training opportunity on digital skills. “I brought out my phone, searched for tailors in Aba, and I couldn’t see a single one,” said Anekwe.

The implication, as he observed is that, when one needed to do business with a businessperson in Aba, they would either have to travel by air, or several hours by road. On arrival, they would still have to go through a tortuous process of searching and filtering till they found whomever they considered a good match for their business need. However, if those businesses already had an online presence, all of this stress could have been eliminated. This would make life easier for those who want to do business with Aba people, while also earning those in Aba more business opportunities.

“What we want to do is use the power of internet to help people grow their businesses,” said Mojolaoluwa Aderemi-Makinde, head, Brand & Reputation, SSA at Google during the launch of Google Digital Skills for Africa program in Aba recently. “Our goal is to work with manufacturers in Aba. We saw a lot of the great work in one of the clusters and we want to work with them to amplify their work, giving more visibility to these SMEs.”

As noted by Seember Nyager, Google’s policy and government relations manager for SSA, made in Aba is already known, but with digital skills, those in the manufacturing clusters can create a stronger presence through the internet and digital skills to be provided by Google.

“We had done this for a very long time, not knowing one can stay in his office while doing business with people overseas,” said Onyebuchi Nwigwe, president, Association of Tailors and Fashion Designers in Abia State, impressed at the new possibilities offered by the training.

The Google Digital Skills for Africa program was launched in Aba to enable businesses in the industrial cluster, give more visibility to their businesses, and get more patronage. The program, which was announced in 2016, offers training courses to help individuals and communities to develop and grow digital skills, find jobs and advance in their careers. The program provides free online courses, tools, and in-person digital training to students, educators, job seekers and businesses.

“When your business is online, you don’t need to carry your products to Lagos, you can put them online and get patronage,” said Chris Ezem, Secretary to the State Government (SSG) who represented Okezie Ikpeazu, Abia State Governor, at the Google Digital Skills for Africa launch in Aba. According to him, with the digital training, businesses can get the needed visibility, also highlighting that youth corps members have a lot to gain at the programme if they get the knowledge and help business owners apply it when they cannot do it themselves owing to time constraints. It will also be a way for the corps members to be self-employed.

Google’s Aderemi-Makinde reiterated this, saying “we are working with NYSC corps members to be able extend this.”

“We need the average businessman to be able to use these technologies, learn and continue using even after we’ve left,” she concluded.

 

CALEB OJEWALE