A number of initiatives, programmes and business opportunities that will benefit SMMEs and start-ups in South Africa have been announced by Google. They are part of a slew of initiatives the multinational company has already committed to Africa to help boost economic growth. Google South Africa Director Alistair Mokoena said this week that Google was committed to partnering with the government and stakeholders to drive digital transformation and economic recovery.
“Our goal is to help SMMEs recover as they are the drivers of our economy and help South Africa grow and thrive,” he said. Google’s investments in the country focus on education, non-profit organisations and small businesses. “Google has assisted over six million SMMEs across Africa to digitise through Google Business Profiles and other Google products.”
Small Business Development Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, who attended the virtual event, announced the launch of Hustle Academy, which is supported by her department. “Hustle Academy is a free week-long boot camp that is geared at helping small businesses grow by increasing revenue, positioning themselves for investment and building sustainable businesses for the future,” she said.
The academy will launch on 21 February and it seeks to train 150 entrepreneurs. The free initiative offers live training sessions, one-on-one mentorship and masterclasses by industry leaders. Also, business owners will have direct access to a wealth of networking opportunities. “We commend Google on the economic recovery initiatives it is investing in, particularly for supporting job seekers, investments in SMMEs and education through its SMME digitisation efforts, Digital Skills for Africa, Grow with Google, Google for Start-ups Accelerator and other programmes,” the minister said.
Google South Africa’s senior manager of government affairs and public policy Abongile Mashele announced that through the Black Founders Fund, which was launched last year in Africa, five South African start-ups have received $100,000 or $50,000 in cash funding, up to $120,000 in ad grants and $100,000 in cloud credits. These included Khula! and Akiba Digital.
Since the Google For Start-ups Accelerator was launched in 2017, 82 start-ups from African countries have participated in the various programmes, including 12 from South Africa. Mashele mentioned Voyc AI, which helped financial services companies be compliant and improve customer service by monitoring 100% of their customer interaction, and Whoosh, which offered digital payment solutions for merchants and businesses looking to expand via online or mobile app.
Businesses that want to participate in the academy can sign up at g.co/hustleracademy