On International Women’s Day, Google announced that it is committing $1 million (Sh114 million) in funding to support programmes helping women entrepreneurs in Africa to grow their businesses.
This is part of a series of new initiatives aimed at supporting women-owned businesses.
“Research shows that 58 percent of small and medium-sized business entrepreneurs in Africa are women,” Mojolaoluwa Aderemi Makinde, Head brand and reputation at Google Africa said in a statement.
“Despite this, women-run businesses show, on average, 34 percent lower profits than those run by their male counterparts. They are also less likely to receive funding and investment. This is why we are announcing a series of initiatives today, aimed at providing the support women need to grow their businesses.”
Furthermore, the global search giant has also announced #LookMeUp, a campaign to showcase women entrepreneurs and tell their stories.
These stories feature women including Mary Mwange, CEO and founder of Data Integrated who is driving innovation in the mobile payments sector in Nairobi.
“Google is also providing free tools to support women entrepreneurs to grow their businesses and has launched an intensive program to drive the discovery of women-owned businesses through Google Business Profiles,” Ms Makinde said.
These tools include Google Business Profile, which helps businesses create a free webpage to make them easier to find online.
Other tools include Primer, an app-based skills-building platform, which allows business owners to access a series of free, custom-designed lessons on the go.
"To help women business owners to develop their skills, Google has also dedicated the March cohort of the Hustle Academy to women-owned SMBs,” Google said in a statement.
The academy is a boot camp-style training programme designed to help entrepreneurs and small businesses owners position their businesses for investment opportunities and build viable business models for the future.
The program is open to businesses that have been in operation for more than a year, have developed a business strategy and defined their product or service offering, and are aiming to grow.
They must also have made a profit in the previous 12 months or be within one to three months of breaking even.