Google on Thursday called for applications for the Hustle Academy SMB Fund, a N75 million equity-free fund dedicated to the Nigerian Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs). Head, Brand and Reputation, Sub Saharan Africa, Google, Mojolaoluwa Aderemi-Makinde, said in a statement that the initiative would offer N5,000,000 to 15 Nigerian small business owners. Aderemi-Makinde said that this initiative cemented Google’s unwavering commitment to cultivating entrepreneurial growth in Nigeria. She said that SMBs formed the backbone of Nigeria’s economy but consistently grapple with challenges, notably the perennial obstacle of securing vital funding. Aderemi-Makinde said that according to the World Bank, African SMBs faced a staggering finance gap of $330 billion. She said that additionally, only 25 per cent of SMBs in Africa had access to bank loans, a percentage that sharply contrasted the 50 per cent observed in developed economies.
She said that Google was committed to supporting the Nigerian entrepreneurial ecosystem, and the fund was a key part of that commitment. According to her, to be eligible for the Hustle Academy SMB Fund, businesses must be Nigerian-founded, operating within Nigeria for 1-5 years, and have a clear and scalable business plan. She said that SMBs should have a track record of commitment to growth, operate in sectors aligned with the digital economy or have a digital enablement strategy. According to her, previous participation in the Hustle Academy programme is an added advantage. Nojimu-Yusuf said that applications for the fund would open on Tuesday and close on October 12th. She said that detailed insights into the fund and application procedures are on ‘google/hustleacademyfund’. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Google’s mission is to organise the world’s information, make it universally accessible and useful. (NAN)
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