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Over 5K African SMBs graduate from Google's Hustle Academy

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Around 5,300 small and midsized businesses (SMBs) from different African countries have graduated from the Google Hustle Academy.

The graduation ceremonies took place in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa.

Through peer-to-peer and mentor-driven learning, the Hustle Academy provides practical business training which helps business owners learn the soft skills that complement their particular expertise.

"The Hustle Academy program focuses on addressing the challenges faced by African SMBs and provides practical skills and resources that are essential for business growth. This year's cohort builds upon the foundation of the more than 5,000 SMBs who graduated last year," Google said in a statement.

This year there were 5,300 graduates, who were chosen from nearly 10,000 applicants and come from 23 cohorts spread across the three African countries.

"The determination and growth exhibited by these SMBs is commendable. The Hustle Academy program stands as a beacon of what practical training and resource provision can accomplish," said Google's South Africa country director, Alistair Mokoena.

He added that the graduation is not only a celebration of the SMBs' hard work but also an acknowledgement of their role in enriching the South African business environment.

Google Kenya's country marketing manager, Shikha Monga, said during the Kenyan graduation that the Hustle Academy is an initiative aimed at bridging the skills gap.

"In addition to having an impact on these SMBs, this kind of practical training also has a ripple effect, helping many more people succeed. Our graduates are working hard to grow their businesses," Monga added.

Google Hustle Academy awards 15 Nigerian SMBs $93K

In addition to the graduation, in Nigeria the Academy awarded 15 Nigerian SMBs a combined 75 million Nigerian Naira (US$93,000) toward expanding their companies.

Speaking at the graduation ceremony in Nigeria, Google West Africa's country director, Olumide Balogun, said the Google Hustle Academy has graduates from all of Nigeria's geo-political regions.

The Academy awarded 15 Nigerian SMBs a combined 75 million Nigerian Naira (US$93,000) toward expanding their companies.   (Source: Google Hustle Academy)
The Academy awarded 15 Nigerian SMBs a combined 75 million Nigerian Naira (US$93,000) toward expanding their companies.
(Source: Google Hustle Academy)

Moreover, since its establishment in 2022, more than 10,000 businesses have graduated from the Academy, with over 4,000 coming from Nigeria.

"My key takeaway, when listening to the testimonials from our graduates, is that Africa's SMBs, armed with the right tools and knowledge, can do anything they set their minds to," Balongun concluded.

Google supports African startups

These graduations come hard on the heels of the tech giant launching a startup accelerator program for Africa, aimed specifically at artificial intelligence (AI) startups looking to use AI to solve local challenges in August this year.

The Google for Startups Accelerator: AI First program recognizes the transformative role that AI is playing across the world.

That initiative followed the company selecting 25 Africa-based startups for the third cohort of Google for Startups Black Founders Fund (BFF) for Africa in June 2023.

The 25 startup beneficiaries will have the opportunity to have a share of the $4 million in funding from the BFF.

All these initiatives are in line with Google's pledge to invest $1 billion over the next five years to support Africa's digital transformation through a range of initiatives from improved connectivity to investments in startups and non-profits, as well as low-interest loans to help small businesses.

Related posts:

*Top image is of Google Hustle Academy South African graduates. (Source: Google Hustle Academy)

Matshepo Sehloho, Associate Editor, Connecting Africa

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