Application has been opened for Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs) in Nigeria to get a ₦75 Million equity-free fund through Google’s Hustle Academy SMB Fund. This opens up an opportunity for 15 Nigerian small business owners to get N5 million each.
This will go a long way to addressing some of the challenges of entrepreneurs in Nigeria, who face the perennial obstacle of securing vital funding. According to the World Bank, African SMBs face a staggering financial gap of $330 billion. Additionally, only 25% of SMBs in Africa have access to bank loans, a percentage that sharply contrasts with the 50% observed in developed economies.
Adducing reasons for the equity-free fund, Mojolaoluwa Aderemi-Makinde, Head of Brand & Reputation, Sub-Saharan Africa at Google, remarked, “The Hustle Academy Fund is a testament to the resilience and innovation of Nigerian small businesses, which are the backbone of our economy. We are hopeful that this fund will further empower them to succeed and drive economic growth, creating jobs and opportunities for all Nigerians.”
Also echoing Mojolaoluwa’s remark, Sinmisola Nojimu-Yusuf, Product Marketing Manager and the Hustle Academy Program Lead at Google, said, “The Hustle Academy Fund provides SMBs with the resources and support they need to succeed. With equity-free funding, mentorship, and opportunities for increased visibility and networking, we are supporting SMBs to grow and thrive. We are committed to supporting the Nigerian entrepreneurial ecosystem, and the Hustle Academy Fund is a key part of that commitment.
To be eligible for the Hustle Academy SMB Fund, businesses must be Nigerian-founded, operating within Nigeria for 1-5 years, and have a clear and scalable business plan. They should have a track record of commitment to growth, operate in sectors aligned with the digital economy or have a digital enablement strategy, and, while not mandatory, previous participation in the Hustle Academy program is an added advantage.
Google’s Hustle Academy, introduced in 2022, provides SMEs with business and management education, mentoring, and networking, with a particular emphasis on preparing them to package their businesses in order to raise the necessary capital to take their businesses to the next level. Since its inception, the program has graduated over 4,000 SMBs in Nigeria, with a notable 74% from the first year reporting marked business growth.
Applications for the Hustle Academy Fund are open September 28 and will close on October 12th.
For detailed insights into the fund and application procedures, head to goo.gle/hustleacademyfund.