Google, the USA-based multinational technology company, is offering 1,000 scholarships to small retailers in Kenya to enable them to shift their business to online platforms and sell their wares and services.
This gesture is part of a month-long commemoration of International Micro, Small, and Medium-sized Businesses (SMBs) Day this June.
Available figures indicate that Kenya, with an e-commerce market growth rate of 44 per cent in 2021 with the country experiencing a rise in the number of online outlets over the last five years.
South Africa has almost 2,000 shopping malls covering over 24 million square metres.
Google has partnered with Coursera to develop an online cert course
Google has partnered with Coursera, an open online course provider, to develop an online career certificate course in digital marketing and e-commerce targeting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
The certificate course is the latest in a series of initiatives to prepare participants for entry-level jobs.
“E-commerce presents an opportunity for small businesses in Kenya to reach new customers and grow.
Through the digital marketing and e-commerce career certificates and specialized training to our 1,000 SMB scholarship beneficiaries, we want to assist small businesses in Africa gain the expertise to connect online, expand their customer base and scale-up,” says Agnes Gathaiya, Google Country Director for Kenya and East Africa.
E-commerce markets in Kenya and Nigeria increased by 40 per cent and 30 per cent, respectively, in 2021, while online sales in South Africa increased by 66 per cent from 2019 to 2020, reaching more than $1.8 billion.
“As more consumers on the continent continue to search for goods and services online, it is critical that small retail businesses learn how to better harness online tools for growth,” Ms Gathaiya adds.
This month also sees the debut of Local Opportunity Finder, a new tool that evaluates a Google Business Profile and makes personalized recommendations for changes a business owner may make on how their business profile looks to consumers in Google Search.
Another initiative underway this June is the free, one-week-long Hustle Academy that will equip small and medium-sized retail businesses (SMBs) with essential skills they need to grow.