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Google Hustle Academy Embraces AI to Empower African SMBs

Google News Initiative, via

Google has unveiled an exciting development for its Hustle Academy program, designed to accelerate the growth of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) across Sub-Saharan Africa. Applications are now open for the 2024 cohort, and this year’s curriculum will feature a groundbreaking integration of business-focused artificial intelligence (AI) training.

The Google Hustle Academy has played a pivotal role in supporting SMBs, which form the backbone of Africa’s economy, by providing comprehensive business education, mentorship, and networking opportunities. Since its inception in 2022, the program has positively impacted over 10,000 businesses, empowering them to overcome challenges in accessing funding and developing essential skills for growth.

Notably, participants who received grants through the Hustle Academy nearly doubled their success rate in securing new funding sources beyond friends and family, increasing from 11 percent to 20 percent. Additionally, the program has catalyzed job creation, with an average of 4 new jobs generated for every 10 businesses that graduated.

Recognizing the immense potential of AI for African SMBs, Google has made the strategic decision to integrate AI-focused training directly into the Hustle Academy curriculum. Kristy Grant, Head of B2B Marketing for Sub-Saharan Africa at Google, emphasized the transformative power of AI for SMBs, enabling them to drive innovation, increase efficiency, and unlock new levels of economic growth.

The new AI modules will focus on equipping SMBs with the knowledge and skills to leverage AI for data-driven decision-making, optimizing operations, and building AI-powered marketing strategies. Participants will explore practical applications through modules such as “Boost Your Productivity with AI” and “Marketing Strategy and AI,” learning how to save time and supercharge digital outreach.

Grant commented, “The Hustle Academy has supported over 10,000 businesses who have gone ahead to raise funding and create jobs since inception. By incorporating AI into our curriculum, we aim to further amplify this impact, equipping SMBs to harness AI technologies for improved business performance and economic progress.”

Applications for the 2024 Hustle Academy cohort are currently open to SMBs in Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa, with the program running throughout the year. This initiative represents a significant stride in empowering African SMBs to embrace the transformative potential of AI, positioning them for sustained growth and success in an increasingly digital and data-driven business landscape.



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