COVID-19: Google partners Ministry of Youth and Sports on multi-million dollar initiatives to help businesses recover

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Google has announced plans to help businesses, job seekers, educational institutions and vulnerable populations as they grapple with the “new normal” and begin to rebuild and recover from the impact of the COVID-19 crisis locally and across the continent.

This was disclosed today by Google Nigeria during a virtual press conference to announce a number of initiatives towards (Nigeria’s) Economic Recovery post-COVID-19 pandemic.

The tech company’s initiatives will address the need for funding, training and services across identified sectors, including support for 500,000 SMBs and 25,000 teachers.

This support includes a partnership with the Nigerian Ministry of Youth and Sports Development. The partnership will provide support for youth-owned SMBs.

It will also provide support for job seekers in Nigeria to help them acquire marketable skills through certification and training programs, and involve supporting programs that enable and improve access to quality education across the region.

Google has set up a digital hub providing free tools and resources to businesses and individuals. Through the hub, 500,000 small businesses will receive help getting online or improving their digital presence through Google My Business (GMB) which helps them connect with millions of users every month.

“Small businesses have been hardest hit during this period. Many of them have had to figure out quickly how to pivot their operations to a ‘digital-first’ approach. Yet, there remains a gap between those who can access these online opportunities and those who can’t. That’s the gap we want to bridge with these initiatives,” Google Nigeria Country Director Juliet Ehimuan said.

“We are focused on creating an enabling environment that promotes youth and economic development in Nigeria. This partnership with Google in Nigeria is critical at this period and we look forward to seeing the positive impact it will have on SMBs’ recovery, enhancing the skills of jobseekers and supporting the education sector,” the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Nigeria, Sunday Dare said.

To provide assistance to vulnerable populations, Google.org has set aside $3 million in grants to nonprofits that support education, entrepreneurship and women empowerment across Africa.

$500,000 of that is going towards a grant to the Praekelt Foundation (a software development non-profit that builds open-source, scalable mobile technologies and solutions to improve the health and wellbeing of underprivileged people) in order to help train micro and small businesses in Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa.