Recently, Google in partnership with the Nigerian Ministry of Youth and Sports Development announced plans to help businesses, job seekers, educational institutions and vulnerable members of the Nigerian population owing to the current realities of the COVID-19 effect.
There is no doubt tthat the pandemic has taken its toll on all manner of activities and means of livelihood, making it more difficult for individuals in developing nations especially women and the youth who engage in small businesses to get a quick grip over the pandemic effect.
This is one of the many reasons Google has recently rolled out some initiatives that set to address the need for funding, training and services across identified sectors, including support for 500,000 Small Medium Businesses (SMBs) and 25,000 teachers.
Why Google is doing this
Juliet Ehimuan, Google Nigeria Country Director commented:
“We have had a long-standing commitment to working with different stakeholders in the industry to ensure that there is a thriving digital economy and we can contribute to the economic growth and development.”
According to Juliet, this is another initiative that Google has created to address pressing issues around the effrect of the pandemic.
The impact of the COVID-19 this year has seen SMBs hit the most.
SMBs are the engine room of the economy, making up 90% of registered businesses as they create jobs on a large scale.
“It is important that we are able to lend our support to SMALL at this point and that’s why we are bringing in these suites of initiatives to support SMBs from grants to information, knowledge hubs to free tools.”
The pandemic has underscored the need for digital transformation, hence necessitating a more online presence.
“It is an intention to continue to contribute with different partners and players to improve growth and development, and that is why we believe in this market.”, Juliet said
How Google access its initiative
According to Juliet, Google access impact by taking feedbacks and learning from the environment to inform where the tech company can make the most differences
“In terms of the things behind the initiatives and the amount we put forward, what we do is to look for where we see a need. Because of our presence in the market, we are able to engage the players and stakeholders in the market.”
In addition to this, Mojolaoluwa Aderemi-makinde, Google Head of Brand and Reputation in Africa commented:
“For us, it is around 3 key things, scale, impact and partnership. Depending on the type of partnership we are trying to forge, we are able to determine what kind of projects we can do with them.
For instance the project around education, the scale is around research and fellowship, very different from supporting displaced women as a result of COVID-19.”
Is the current Intervention a one-off?
Juliet explained that the intervention isn’t a one-off activity, but a constant investment in the market.
“In 2017 we made major announcements including our pledge to train 10 million people on digital skills over 5 years and also our Google for Startup Accelerator Program to support early-stage tech startup.
There is also $20 million grant from Google.org for organisations enhancing the course of education and economy prosperity that is still ongoing.”
“This year COVID-19 has been the big topic, in response to that we have actually pivoted our digital skills training to support the education sector because the area now as huge demand for e-learning tools.”
Juliet reiterated Google’s effort in continuing to access and adopt initiatives based on the pressing need of the environment.
Ministry of Youth and Sports Development role
Mr. Sunday Dare, Honourable Minister of Youth and Sports Development on the effort of the government to make data access easier said that during the COVID-19 lockdown the Ministry had formed strategic implementation partnerships.
One of them was with a telco company in Nigeria to provide data almost for free dedicated to certain platforms and initiatives such as Google.
“So long the individual is a user of the Google initiative platform, we will provide you a code that will give you access to heavily subsidised data rate to access these tools”
Accorinding to the Minister, there is no better time for Google to lend its resources, skills for the empowerment of youth and the entirety of humankind in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Google has come with entrepreneurship and that is where our focus is right now, to make of our youth entrepreneurs who will be wealth creators, self-starters and self-driven and this Google initiative fit into that overall plan.”
“In less than 8 weeks ago, the Federal Government approved the first Nigerian Youth Initiative Fund of N75 billion that will run for over 3 years with a focus on SMBs. Digital skills training and a bouquet of programme available on the ministry website.”, the Minister concluded
Featured Image: businessamlive
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