Google announced new programs to promote small retail enterprises on Wednesday, as well as offering 1,000 scholarships to African entrepreneurs.
It was part of a month-long commemoration of International Micro, Small, and Medium-sized Businesses (SMB) Day in June, according to Juliet Ehimuan, Google Country Director for West Africa.
The programs marking International SMB Day, according to Ehimuan, underline Google’s commitment to ensuring that small retail enterprises on the continent have access to the digital technologies, resources, and training they need to prosper and be more resilient.
She mentioned a one-hour virtual training event called the ‘Shopping Small Business Summit,’ which is geared at assisting small business owners gain skills and tools to compete online.
Topics will include e-commerce trends and digital marketing, she added, and the event will be available to anybody who registers at g.co/events/shoppingmail.
Google has also worked with Coursera, a well-known open online course provider, to establish an online career degree in digital marketing and e-commerce for SMEs, and is offering 1,000 scholarships to Africans who wish to participate, according to her.
“E-commerce presents an opportunity for small businesses in Africa to reach new customers and grow.”
“Through the digital marketing, e-commerce career certificates, specialised trainings and 1,000 scholarships, we want to be able to assist small businesses in Africa gain the expertise to connect online, expand their customer base and scale-up.”
“The certificate course is the latest in a series of initiatives aimed at preparing participants for entry-level jobs,’’ she said.
According to her, ‘Local Opportunity Finder,’ a new tool that examines a Google Business Profile and makes personalized recommendations for adjustments, will be released this month.
The tool, according to Ehimuan, examines modifications or recommendations that a business owner might make to improve how their business profile appears to Google Search users.
The free, one-week Hustle Academy in June, according to the director, will focus on vital skills that will assist small and medium-sized retail businesses (SMBs) gain the talents they need to grow.
Africa’s expanding young population and urbanisation, she claims, present enormous expansion potential for small retail enterprises.
Wholesale and retail, according to Ehimuan, are the third-largest contributors to Nigeria’s GDP, with informal merchants accounting for more than 90% of the industry.