Nairobi — 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 to GiveDirectly Kenya to reach 500 women who have lost their sources of income due to COVID-19. The grant is aimed at helping 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 set up a digital hub to help businesses and individuals, and will be helping 500,000 small businesses get online through Google My Business. Once people can find these businesses on Google and Google Maps, businesses will be able to connect with millions of users every month.
Google has also launched a tool that helps business owners put together a marketing kit. By using information from their Google My Business profile, they can keep customers informed with the latest news and create custom posters and social posts.
"Google will continue to help accelerate Kenya's digital economy. During this time, the ability to be online has been a lifeline to so many of us, whether you are a small business trying to stay afloat, a parent looking for updates on how to keep your family healthy, or a student trying to keep up with your studies," stated Agnes Gathaiya, Country Director for Google Kenya & East Africa.
For businesses looking to break into new markets, Market Finder helps them do just that. This innovative tool provides the necessary market recommendations for businesses, helping them reach a wider audience. The tool helps with localisation, international payments, and logistics, and helps businesses reach global customers seeking its products or services.
"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," added Agnes.
Google has committed to helping Kenyans in formal and informal jobs who have been impacted and are looking for new opportunities. According to the Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs, youth unemployment is estimated to be as high as 35% with approximately 800,000 young Kenyans joining the labour market every year. Starting in November 2020, Google will provide Sh75 million in IT support scholarships through Google.org focused on communities and job seekers who cannot afford data. This 5-course certificate will include an innovative curriculum designed to prepare individuals for an entry-level role in IT support.
Job seekers can access the Grow with Google training portal to help grow their career or business at their own pace, with flexible and personalised training courses designed to build their confidence and help them thrive.
In the education sector, Google is targeting 500,000 students in Africa to continue with e-learning remotely through Google for Education. Google is working with a number of partners across Africa who will focus on deploying the suite of education products across schools. During this time, Google will introduce Google Teacher Center to Kenya. It 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.