Google has committed Sh300 million in grants to support education, entrepreneurship, and women empowerment in Africa. The grant is part of Google’s support to help businesses, job seekers, and educational institutions recover and rebuild from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Google is also giving a Sh125 million grant directly to 500 women who have lost their sources of income due to COVID-19. The qualified businesses will be eligible for a Sh112,500 grant to help them to start their own businesses or find new ways of supporting themselves financially. They will also be equipped with livelihood improvement activities and training to promote entrepreneurship and financial literacy.
In Kenya, like in many parts of Africa, many small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) greatly impacted by the pandemic have had to quickly adapt their operations to the “new normal” through the use of digital tools. Google has committed to helping Kenyans in formal and informal jobs who have been impacted and are looking for new opportunities.
Google has set up a digital hub to help 500,000 small businesses get online through Google My Business. This will put those businesses on Google and Google Maps, increasing their visibility and connecting them with millions of users every month.
It has also set up a tool that helps business owners put together a marketing toolkit using the information on their Google My Business to keep customers informed with the latest news and create custom posters and social posts.
According to Google Country director for Kenya and East Africa, Agnes Gathaiya said, “The global tech giant’s Market Finder provides the necessary market recommendations for businesses, helping them reach a wider audience. Being helpful during these times is at the core of Google’s mission to organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
The tool helps with localisation, international payments, and logistics, and helps businesses reach global customers seeking its products or services.
According to the Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs, youth unemployment is estimated to be as high as 35 per cent with approximately 800,000 young Kenyans joining the labour market every year.
Starting in November 2020, Google will provide Sh75 million in IT scholarships focused on communities and job seekers who cannot afford data. This five-course certificate will include an innovative curriculum designed to prepare individuals for an entry-level role in IT support.
In the education sector, Google is targeting 500,000 students in Africa to continue with e-learning remotely through Google for Education. It is currently working with other partners to deploy the suite of education products across schools.
It is also expected to introduce Google Teacher Centre to Kenya which aims to train 25,000 teachers to allow for easier integration of Google tools into their classroom while supporting them with the best strategies to reach more students using technology.