Today, Google has declared the commencement of application processes for the Hustle Academy SMB Fund. This is a specific ₦75 Million fund provided without the necessity for equity return. This move underscores Google’s unwavering commitment to fostering entrepreneurial dreams and bolstering the growth of Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs) within Nigeria.
In Nigeria, small and medium-sized enterprises are fundamental to the economy, yet they consistently encounter significant obstacles, especially in obtaining crucial funding. As stated by the World Bank, African SMBs are facing a notable financing gap, approximated at $330 billion. Additionally, the opportunity to secure bank loans is scarce, with a mere 25% of African SMBs having access, compared to 50% in more developed economic regions.
Launched in 2022, Google’s Hustle Academy is dedicated to offering SMEs education in business and management, mentoring, and networking opportunities. It focuses primarily on equipping them to present their businesses effectively to garner the essential funding for elevating their operations. Since the beginning, over 4,000 SMBs in Nigeria have successfully graduated from the program. Impressively, 74% of the first-year graduates have reported significant business expansion.
Building upon the considerable success and influence of the Hustle Academy, the Hustle Academy Fund allocates an exclusive 75 million naira fund solely for Nigeria. This fund is destined to aid 15 investor-ready SMBs with non-dilutive financial support. This dedicated commitment is further enhanced with personalized mentorship, ensuring the participating businesses are thoroughly prepared for success.
Mojolaoluwa Aderemi-Makinde, who holds the position of Head of Brand and reputation in Sub-Saharan Africa at Google, stated, “The establishment of the Hustle Academy Fund highlights the strength and innovation of Nigerian small businesses, crucial elements of our economic structure. We expect that this fund will further enhance their ability to thrive, boosting economic expansion, and generating employment and opportunities for all Nigerians.”
Mirroring these thoughts, Sinmisola Nojimu-Yusuf, who is the Product Marketing Manager and the Hustle Academy Program Lead at Google, expressed, “The Hustle Academy Fund is designed to equip SMBs with the essential resources and support for their success. Offering equity-free funding, guidance, and enhanced opportunities for visibility and networking, we stand behind SMBs in their journey to expansion and prosperity. Our unwavering commitment to bolstering the Nigerian entrepreneurial landscape is fundamentally embodied in the Hustle Academy Fund.”
To qualify for the Hustle Academy SMB Fund, businesses must originate from Nigeria, have been operational within the country for a period ranging from one to five years, and possess a coherent and expandable business plan. These businesses should consistently commit to growth and operate within sectors related to the digital economy or maintain a digital enablement strategy. Although not a requirement, prior involvement in the Hustle Academy program is a beneficial factor.
Applications for the Hustle Academy Fund commence on September 28 and conclude on October 12.
For an in-depth understanding of the fund and the application process, visit goo.gle/hustle academy fund.