Today, Google announced a significant initiative aimed at empowering small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in Nigeria.
The tech giant has opened applications for the Hustle Academy SMB Fund, a ₦75 Million equity-free fund designed to support and boost the ambitions of Nigerian SMBs.
Google’s commitment to fostering entrepreneurial growth and addressing the funding challenges faced by small businesses in Nigeria is evident in this program.
Small businesses are the backbone of Nigeria’s economy, but they often encounter obstacles, especially when it comes to securing essential funding.
According to the World Bank, African SMBs face a substantial finance gap of $330 billion. Furthermore, only 25% of African SMBs have access to bank loans, a figure significantly lower than the 50% observed in developed economies.
Google’s Hustle Academy, introduced in 2022, provides SMBs with essential business and management education, mentoring, and networking opportunities.
It places a particular emphasis on helping them package their businesses to raise the necessary capital for growth.
Since its launch, the program has graduated over 4,000 Nigerian SMBs, with a remarkable 74% reporting substantial business growth within the first year.
Building upon the achievements and impact of the Hustle Academy, the newly introduced Hustle Academy SMB Fund sets aside a ₦75 Million pool exclusively for Nigeria.
The fund aims to support 15 investor-ready SMBs with non-dilutive funding. In addition to financial support, participants will receive tailored mentorship to ensure their businesses are well-positioned for success.
Mojolaoluwa Aderemi-Makinde, Head of Brand & Reputation, Sub Saharan Africa at Google, expressed optimism about the initiative, stating, “The 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.”
Sinmisola Nojimu-Yusuf, Product Marketing Manager and the Hustle Academy Program Lead at Google, added, “The Hustle Academy Fund provides SMBs with the resources and support they need to succeed. With equity-free funding, mentorship, and opportunities for increased visibility and networking, we are supporting SMBs to grow and thrive. We are committed to supporting the Nigerian entrepreneurial ecosystem, and the Hustle Academy Fund is a key part of that commitment.”
To be eligible for the Hustle Academy SMB Fund, businesses must meet specific criteria. They should be Nigerian-founded, operating within Nigeria for 1-5 years, and have a clear and scalable business plan.
A track record of commitment to growth and alignment with the digital economy or digital enablement strategies is essential. While not mandatory, previous participation in the Hustle Academy program is considered an advantage.
Applications for the Hustle Academy Fund will be open from September 28 to October 12, offering SMBs a significant opportunity to access funding and resources to fuel their growth and contribute to Nigeria’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.
For more details on the fund and application procedures, visit goo.gle/hustleacademyfund.