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Google Reels Out Initiatives To Uplift Youth SMEs, Teachers, Others …Partners Ministry of Youth And Sports Development

Small businesses, educational institutions and teachers across Africa will benefit from an initiative by Google, as the tech search engine company is working with partners across the continent, through Google for Education, to help deploy its suite of education products in schools and help 500,000 students continue learning.

The initiative disclosed during a virtual conference with the media, will also help businesses, job seekers, educational institutions and vulnerable populations as companies begin to rebuild and recover from the impact of the COVID-19 crisis locally and across the continent.

To help teachers keep teaching, Google aims to give 25,000 educators access to free online training sessions and resources, such as ‘Teach From Anywhere’. Google is also giving a grant of $250,000 to organizations in Nigeria which are developing programs and tools to boost literacy for children in low-income schools in the country.

Also in an effort to help job seekers acquire new skills while they look for opportunities, Google is providing underserved communities and job seekers with $750,000 in IT support scholarships through Google.org across Africa. Job seekers can also access the Grow with Google training portal for help in growing their careers or businesses at their own pace and through flexible and personalized training courses.

According to Google, it has also launched a new Marketing Kit tool to help people to put together marketing kits for their businesses while the free Market Finder tool, which includes updated insights for negotiating a COVID and post-COVID environment, is there to help 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 tool helps businesses keep customers informed with their latest news, create custom posters and social posts.

To provide assistance to vulnerable populations, Google.org has set aside $3 million in grants to nonprofits that support education, entrepreneurship and women empowerment across Africa. 

$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 Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa.

Speaking at the event, Google Nigeria Country Director Juliet Ehimuan, noted reasons behind Google’s drive: “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 these initiatives.”

The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Nigeria, Sunday Dare, said the Ministry is focused on creating an enabling environment that promotes youth and economic development in Nigeria. This partnership with Google in Nigeria is critical at this period and we look forward to seeing the positive impact it will have on SMBs’ recovery, enhancing the skills of jobseekers and supporting the education sector.”

 “One of the abiding lessons of Covid-19 is the importance and dominance of technology. This is where our youth play well. This Google partnership comes at time most appropriate to help ratchet up support for our enterprising youth across Nigeria. I am certain Nigeria youth will take full advantage of this opportunity of this opportunity,” he said.

Fate Foundation states that 94.3% of businesses surveyed in Nigeria have been adversely affected by the Covid 19 pandemic. Research shows that 86% of Nigerian youths are pro-enterprise. This means given the right conditions, resources and training, Nigerian youth are poised to thrive in the area of entrepreneurship.

According to the Minister: “Late last year, the ministry launched a DEEL initiative with plans of creating avenues of sustainable wealth creation, digital training for one million Nigerians by 2023. The DEEL initiative speaks to Digital literacy, Entrepreneurship, Employability and Leadership Skills enhancement. We crafted lofty plans and were sure of an impactful dent in the number of young persons living below the poverty line but Covid-19 came along and threw a spanner in the works.

“One of the abiding lessons of the pandemic is the importance and dominance of technology. This is where our youth play well. Post-pandemic, the use of technology is unlikely to decline but will instead will increase, even in the rural areas as government has embarked upon massive investment in the areas of public digital infrastructure. For these investments to be fully effective, digital literacy skills must be strengthened with continual education to keep pace with rapidly changing global technologies.

The Minister added: “Nigerian Government’s Nigeria Youth Investment Fund (NYIF) is targeted at turning most of our youth into entrepreneurs (MSMEs). This Google partnership comes at time most opportune time to help ratchet up support for our enterprising youth across Nigeria.”

In conclusion, Google’s Egimuan assured: “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.”

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