Google has empowered 15 Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs) under its Hustle Academy with the sum of N75 million.
The country Director, Google West Africa, Mr Olumide Balogun, said this at the Google Hustle Academy graduation on Thursday in Abuja.
Balogun said the event was also to celebrate not only 5,300 graduands but the 10,000 businesses across Africa and 4,400 bussiness in Nigeria that had been empowered so far by the academy.
He said that the fund a combination of financial assistance, mentorship, and business tool would empower the NIgerian SMBs.
“We are hopeful that this fund will further empower them to succeed and drive economic growth, creating jobs and opportunities for all Nigerians,” he said.
The country director said the graduates and fund recipients represent a diverse array of industries, with unique stories and vision for the future.
He said in spite of the challenging environment, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) would still excel with the right tools, knowledge and funding.
According to him, the passion and resilience shown by these SMEs are truly inspiring.
‘’The Hustle Academy is a testament to what focused training and resources can achieve.
‘’We are not just celebrating their graduation today, we are recognising their potential to reshape and invigorate the Nigerian bussiness landscape,” he said.
The Head, Brand and Reputation, Google, Mojolaoluwa Aderemi-Makinde, while presenting the 15 beneficiaries said they represent the six geopolitical zones in Nigeria.
Aderemi-Makinde said the selection of the 15 recipients followed rigorous and careful process from 1,000 applications by a seasoned panel from private, government and trainers.
She said the fund was not about Google but the impact it would create in the economy.
In his keynote address, the Director-General, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (SMEDAN), Mr Charles Odii, commended the graduates for their commitment throughout the programme.
Odii announced the on-boarding of the Google Hustle Academy into SMEDAN licensed Business Decelopment Service Provides.
He described SMEs as the lifeline of the economy with 96 per cent of businesses in Nigeria contributing over 49.78 per cent to the Gross Domestic Product and job creation for over 59 million people.
‘’Whatever learnt at the academy, the onus falls on the SMEs to go out there and reduce the high rate of unemployment in Nigeria,” he said.
The Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Job Creation, Mr Tola Adekunle-Johnson, attributed youthful unrest in the country to unemployment.
Adekunle-Johnson said the Federal Government would work with anyone or group that creates jobs for the teeming population.
The recipients cut across various industries.
The recipients include Ifeoma Augusta Anselem – Rae’s Clothing, Femi Bolaji – Wauley Projects Ltd., Nafisa Sabo– Pinch N’ Dash and Funmilola Agbayewa – Segunfunmi foods Nigeria Limited.
Others were Chigozie Bashua – The Nut Place Ltd., John Samuel Andefiki – Kita Farm, Hussaini Aliyu Baba – Lead Way Family Poultry, Aminu Abdulkarim – A.A.K. Shoes and Constance Edesiri – Stance Fashion Empire, among others.
One of the fund recipients, Agbayewa said the Hustle Academy had equipped them with vital business knowledge and experience that would help in the growth and development of their business.
Agbayewa, a cancer survivor, said the fund would be invested in her cancer centre foundation to address the needs of cancer patients
The Hustle Academy is designed to address specific challenges faced by SMBs in Africa, offers practical skills and resources to help these businesses grow.
The Hustle Academy Fund is a testament to the resilience and innovation of Nigerian small businesses, which are the backbone of our economy.