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Google has launched multiple initiatives to assist small businesses, job seekers, educational institutions, and vulnerable populations to recover from the devastating impacts of Covid-19. 

The initiative aims to assist 500 000 small businesses both locally and across the continent

Small business assistance 

To assist small businesses locally and across the continent, the tech company will address the need for funding, training, and services. Google aims to support 500 000 small businesses with its tech-based and funding initiative. 

Part of this initiative includes the creation of a digital hub providing free tools and resources to businesses and individuals. The hub will give 500,000 small businesses help to get online or improve their digital presence through Google My Business (GMB). GMB helps businesses connect with millions of users every month.

Alistair Mokoena, Google South Africa Country Director explains that the digital hub aims to help small businesses transition online, allowing access to a wider customer reach and overall sales. 

“Small businesses have been hardest hit during this period. Many of them have had to figure out quickly how to pivot their operations to a ‘digital-first’ approach. Yet, there remains a gap between those who can access these online opportunities and those who can’t. That’s the gap we want to bridge with this initiative.”

In addition, a new  Marketing Kit tool has been launched in order to help people create marketing kits for their businesses. Another useful tool that will be available to small businesses includes the free and updated Market Finder tool. This tool provides updated insights for negotiating a Covid and post-Covid environment. This tool will assist with localisation, international payments, and logistics for African businesses looking to reach new customers around the world. 

Using information from their Google My Business profile, the market finder tool helps businesses keep customers informed with their latest news, create custom posters and social posts.

Job seekers 

With the impacts of Covid-19 causing a mass of job loss across the country Google has launched a programme to help job seekers acquire new skills while looking for new opportunities. In this regard, underserved communities and job seekers R12.5-million worth in IT support scholarships through Google.org across Africa. 

In addition, those seeking employment can also access the Grow with Google training portal to help grow their careers or businesses at their own pace and through flexible and personalised training courses. 

Educational institutions 

Working with partners across Africa, Google will assist both educational institutions and teachers to help deploy its suite of education products in schools to assist 500 000 students. Google aims to assist 25 000 educators with access to free online training sessions and resources, such as Teach From Anywhere in order to cope with the ‘new normal’.

A full 360 in aid 

A reported R50-million in grants has been set aside for nonprofits that support, education, entrepreneurship, and women empowerment across Africa. 

In an official statement, Google elaborates on this assistance in specific relation to a regional foundation. 

“R8.3-million ($500,000) of that is going towards a grant to the Praekelt Foundation (a software development non-profit that builds open-source, scalable mobile technologies and solutions to improve the health and wellbeing of underprivileged people) in order to help train micro and small businesses in South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria.”

An additional R8.3-million in grant funding will be allocated to Youth Employment Services in order to provide twelve-month employment opportunities and digital skills to young black people in South Africa. 

“We will continue to do our part to help businesses recover and grow, help more people prepare for jobs, and support students, teachers, and underserved communities. And in-so-doing, we hope to create real economic opportunity for everyone,” concludes Mokoena.

Source: Venture Burn