Google Celebrates International Small Business Month with E-Commerce Summit and Digital Marketing Fellowships

Google has announced new initiatives to support small retail businesses in Africa as part of a month-long commemoration of International Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Day (IMSBD) in June. This includes a one-hour virtual training event, a Small Business Buyer Summit, aimed at helping small business owners develop skills and tools to compete online. Topics will include e-commerce trends and digital marketing and are open to anyone who registers.

Google has also partnered with Coursera, a well-known open online course provider, to develop an online career certificate course in digital marketing and e-commerce for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and is offering 1000 scholarships to Africans who wish to participate. The certificate course is the latest in a series of initiatives aimed at preparing participants for entry-level jobs.

This month also sees the launch of Local Opportunity Finder, a new tool that rates a Google business profile and makes personalized recommendations for changes a business owner can make to improve the look of their business profile. for consumers in Google search. Additionally, the free week-long Hustle Academy in June will focus on essential skills that will help small and medium-sized retail businesses (SMEs) gain the skills they need to grow.

“E-commerce offers African small businesses an opportunity to reach new customers and grow. Through Digital Marketing and eCommerce Career Certificates, Specialized Training and 1000 Fellowships, we want to be able to help small businesses in Africa gain the expertise to go online, expand their customer base and grow,” says Juliet Ehimuan, Google Country. Director for West Africa.

Africa’s growing youth population and urbanization present huge expansion opportunities for small retail businesses. South Africa has nearly 2,000 shopping centers covering over 24 million square meters. Wholesale and retail trade is the third largest contributor to Nigeria’s GDP, with over 90% of the industry made up of informal traders, while Kenya, with an e-commerce market growth rate of 44% in 2021 , has seen a steady increase in the number of outlets over the past five years.

E-commerce markets in Kenya and Nigeria grew by 40% and 30%, respectively, in 2021, while online sales in South Africa grew by 66% between 2019 and 2020, reaching over 1.8 billion dollars.

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