Google announced on Thursday that it is accepting applications for the Hustle Academy SMB Fund, a N75 million equity-free fund devoted to Nigerian SMBs.
15 Nigerian small company owners would receive N5,000,000 as part of the project, according to Mojolaoluwa Aderemi-Makinde, Head, Brand and Reputation, Sub Saharan Africa, Google.
This programme, according to Aderemi-Makinde, solidified Google's steadfast dedication to encouraging entrepreneurship in Nigeria.
According to her, SMBs are the backbone of Nigeria's economy, yet they frequently face difficulties, most notably the ongoing problem of finding essential capital.
Aderemi-Makinde disclosed that the World Bank estimates that there is a startling $330 billion financing shortfall facing African SMBs.
Additionally, she added that only 25% of SMBs in Africa had access to bank financing, a figure that stands in stark contrast to the 50% seen in affluent economies.
"Hustle Academy Fund is a testament to the resilience and innovation of Nigerian small businesses, which are the backbone of our economy.
"We are hopeful that this fund will further empower them to succeed and drive economic growth, creating jobs and opportunities for all Nigerians,’’ she said.
She claims that Google's Hustle Academy, which was launched in 2022, offers SMEs networking opportunities, coaching, and business and management education, with a focus on helping them package their firms.
Aderemi-Makinde explained that it was to raise the money required to expand their enterprises.
She pointed out that since its start, the initiative had graduated over 4,000 SMBs in Nigeria, with an impressive 74% of those reporting significant economic growth in the first year.
She said that a N75 million pool designated solely for Nigeria will be used by the fund to provide non-dilutive capital to 15 investor-ready SMBs.
This dedication was enhanced by specialised mentoring, ensuring that these enterprises were set up for success.
The Hustle Academy Fund gave SMBs the tools and assistance they needed to succeed, according to Sinmisola Nojimu-Yusuf, a Product Marketing Manager and the Hustle Academy Programme Lead at Google, who also spoke.
"With equity-free funding, mentorship, and opportunities for increased visibility and networking, we are supporting SMBs to grow and thrive.”
She added that the fund was a crucial component of Google's commitment to assisting the Nigerian business ecosystem.
According to her, organisations must have been created in Nigeria, have been operating there for one to five years, and have a clear, scalable business plan in order to qualify for the Hustle Academy SMB Fund.
SMBs, according to her, should have a history of dedication to growth, work in industries that are compatible with the digital economy, or have a digital enablement strategy.
Her prior involvement in the Hustle Academy programme is considered an asset.
Applications for the fund will be accepted starting on Tuesday and will end on October 12th, according to Nojimu-Yusuf.
She claimed that 'google/hustleacademyfund' provides comprehensive information about the fund and application guidelines.