Google today held graduation events in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa, and to celebrate 5000 business owners who have completed its Hustle Academy training programme.
Launched in February this year, the Hustle Academy provides practical business training which helps business owners learn the soft skills that complement their hard talents.
This is through peer-to-peer and mentor-driven learning.
This year’s graduates were chosen from nearly 10,000 applications.
The 5000 graduates come from 23 cohorts spread across the three countries in Africa.
Of the 5000, 1200 entrepreneurs graduated from Kenya.
Early this year, the entrepreneurs attended five-day virtual boot camps where they learned how to define their business strategy, increase sales, and how to pitch for investor funding.
The curriculum also included lessons on digital marketing and effective financial planning.
Each business also received one-on-one mentoring sessions, to address specific pain points in their businesses, and to get advice from a network of trained mentors and coaches.
Google Country Marketing Manager Shikha Monga said that MSMEs are the bloodline of Africa’s economy.
She said that the MSMEs sector lacks enough support.
Shikha said that the Hustle Academy is an initiative that is not aimed at fixing the problem but at bridging the gap.
“Our graduates are working hard to grow their businesses,” Shikha said.
“In addition to having an impact on these 5000 SMEs, this kind of practical training also has a ripple effect, helping many more people succeed.”
Micro and Small Enterprise Authority Senior Assistant Director Reynold Njue said that the event was a great initiative to enhance the capacity and skills of MSMEs within the region.
“Providing skills, promoting, supporting, and enhancing the capacity of our MSMEs to grow and expand their businesses is a noble initiative from Google,” Njue said.
He said that MSMEs are the engine of the growth of the country’s economy.
“We can see that the current government is focused on uplifting MSMEs in the sector so that they grow and become bigger,” Njue added.
He also said that the authority is organizing the EAC Nguvu Kazi Trade Fair and exhibition set to take place later this year.
This event seeks to make markets accessible to MSMEs.
This year, the exhibition will be held in Kampala, Uganda.
“We are going to facilitate around 350 MSMEs to participate in the event,” Njue said.
“They will showcase their products and services. Therefore, we call on MSMEs to come and register with us so that we can share their businesses with the East Africa Community.”
Njue said that the trade fair is an EAC rotational event for the regional partners to showcase products as well as network to improve on trade, products, and services.
Centafrique co-founder Eliud Luutsa said that the learning at the Academy was intensive and impactful.
He said that he learnt how to scale his business by leveraging the numerous digital systems and the use of the different Google products.
“Six months later, I have been able to see the positive effects the boot camp has had on my business,” Eliud said.
“We have been able to increase our visibility online after we learnt how to set up a business profile on Google.”
He said that this has boosted their business credibility and led to the forging of meaningful partnerships.
However, Eliud said that the government is yet to do enough to support MSMEs.
"There is an infrastructure gap on the cost of devices, connectivity, and digital skills for businesses that are built online,” he added.
“Our internet penetration is at 65 per cent which means if my business is online then 35 per cent of the audience is not accessing my services.”
Eliud also said that the government has a long way to go to support MSMEs.
At the events, Google also announced a new speaker series in which successful African entrepreneurs will share lessons and advice, furthering its commitment to helping entrepreneurs and small businesses thrive.
Dubbed “Hustle Academy Brings You…”, the new talk-show style video series will feature renowned and respected entrepreneurs from across Africa.
Among them is Kenya’s Patricia Okelo who is the founder and CEO of Willart Productions and Conference-in-a-box.
They will share practical advice and growth tips to inspire emerging entrepreneurs.
This is meant to complement and expand the Hustle Academy training.
This speaker series will allow SMEs to get insight from business owners from an array of sectors, focusing on the issues, themes, and subjects they face on a regular basis.
“Small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) are the backbone of the global economy, and in Africa, they account for an estimated 80% of jobs,” Shikha said.
“In Sub-Saharan Africa alone, there are an estimated 44 million MSMEs which function as important drivers of economic growth.”
Google is committed to supporting businesses in Africa and initiatives like the Hustle Academy and the new speaker series help businesses take advantage of all the opportunities that the web offers and equip them with the tools to develop and grow.
credits; THE STAR - https://www.the-star.co.ke/sasa/technology/2022-11-29-google-graduates-5000-african-msmes-from-hustle-academy/