The philanthropic arm of the search engine company, Google, Google.org has announced a $1 million charitable fund to support programs that will help women entrepreneurs to grow their businesses.
The announcement to this launch reveals that the fund is a part of its streams of new initiatives targeted at supporting women-owned and led businesses.
According to Google’s Head Brand and Reputation for Africa, Mojolaoluwa Aderemi-Makinde, the fund will provide assistance for about 58% of small and medium-sized businesses (SMB) in Africa, which are owned and run by women.
“Despite this, women-run businesses show, on average, 34% lower profits than those run by their male counterparts. They are also less likely to receive funding and investment. This is why we are announcing a series of initiatives today, aimed at providing the support women need to grow their businesses”, Aderemi-Makinde said.
In addition to the funding announcement, Google also announced the #LookMeUp campaign, to showcase women entrepreneurs and tell their stories.
These stories would feature African women such as Vivian Nwakah in Nigeria, who launched Medsaf, a pharma supply chain solution to help Nigerians get access to quality pharmaceutical health care services, Mary Mwange, CEO and founder of Data Integrated who is driving innovation in the mobile payments sector in Nairobi, Kenya, and Mosa Mkhize in South Africa, who launched Origins Publishers to provide her children – and others like them – with books in their home languages.
To further assist women business owners develop their skills, Google has also dedicated the March cohort of the Hustle Academy to women-owned SMBs.
The Hustle Academy, which was launched in February, is a free, week-long boot camp designed to help SMBs build the expertise they need to expand their businesses.
Business owners will undergo five days of hands-on training and receive 3000 hours of training on fundamental aspects of the business to help them navigate the challenges faced by SMEs in Africa.
The training model includes strategic growth sessions, which are business growth strategy, building digital marketing roadmaps, discovering and evaluating funding routes and how to pitch for success among other topics.
“Google is also providing free tools to support women entrepreneurs to grow their businesses and has launched an intensive program to drive the discovery of women-owned businesses through Google Business Profiles,” Makinde adds.
These tools include Google Business Profile – which helps businesses create a free webpage to make them easier to find online, and Primer, an app-based skills-building platform, which allows business owners to access a series of free, custom-designed, bite-sized lessons on the go.