As the world marks International Women’s Day today Google announced that its philanthropic arm, Google.org, is committing $1m in charitable funding to support programs helping women entrepreneurs to grow their businesses.
The grant is part of a series of new initiatives by Google.org aimed at supporting women-owned businesses.
“Research shows that 58% of small and medium-sized business (SMB) entrepreneurs in Africa are women,” says Mojolaoluwa Aderemi-Makinde, Head Brand and Reputation, Africa – Google.
“Despite this, women-run businesses show, on average, 34% 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.”
In addition to the funding announcement, Google has also announced #LookMeUp, a campaign to showcase women entrepreneurs and tell their stories.
These stories feature women like Vivian Nwakah in Nigeria, who launched Medsaf, a pharma supply chain solution to help Nigerians get access to quality pharmaceutical health care services, Mary Mwange, CEO and founder of Data Integrated who is driving innovation in the mobile payments sector in Nairobi, Kenya, and Mosa Mkhize in South Africa, who launched Origins Publishers to provide her children – and others like them – with books in their home languages.
“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,” Makinde says.
These tools include Google Business Profile, which helps businesses create a free webpage to make them easier to find online, and Primer, an app-based skills building platform, which allows business owners to access a series of free, custom designed, bite-sized 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.
The Hustle Academy, launched last month, is a free, week-long bootcamp designed to help SMBs build the expertise they need to expand their businesses.