Google to train more than 1,000 small businesses on e-commerce

A sign is pictured outside a Google office near the company's headquarters in Mountain View, California. May 8, 2019. [Reuters]

Technology giant Google is targeting local retail players with e-commerce training. This will be done through the one-month-long international Micro, Small, and Medium-sized Businesses (SMB) Day.

It comes at a time when Google’s ongoing commitment to supporting small businesses in Africa has been noticeable through initiatives such as the Google Hustle Academy, Google Business Profile, Market Finder and Market Kit.

The firm said the new programmes commemorating the international SMB Day this month reaffirm Google’s dedication to ensuring small retail businesses acquire the necessary digital technology, tools and training to thrive and become more resilient.

This includes the upcoming one-hour virtual training event dubbed Shopping Small Business Summit aimed at helping SMB owners develop skills and tools to compete online.

Google has also partnered with Coursera, an open online course provider, to develop an online career certificate course in digital marketing and e-commerce for SMEs. It is offering 1,000 scholarships to Africans who wish to attend. The certificate course is the latest in a series of initiatives aimed at preparing participants for entry-level jobs.

This month will also see the debut of Local Opportunity Finder, a tool that evaluates a "Google Business Profile“ and makes personalised recommendations for changes that a business owner may make to enhance their business profile to consumers in Google search.

Also, the free one-week-long Hustle Academy in June will focus on essential skills that will help SME retail businesses build the skills they need to grow.

Google Country Director for Kenya and East Africa Agnes Gathaiya said as more consumers continue to search for goods and services online, small retail businesses must learn how to better harness online tools for growth.

“E-commerce presents an opportunity for small businesses in Africa to reach new customers and grow. Through the digital marketing and e-commerce career certificates, specialised training and 1,000 scholarships, we want to be able to assist small businesses in Africa gain the expertise to connect online, expand their customer base and scale-up,” said Ms Gathaiya.

Reports show Africa’s growing young population and urbanisation present huge expansion opportunities for small businesses.