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Africa News

Google restarts Hustle Academy across Africa

An AI focus is intended to empower small and medium enterprises in South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria.

Google has opened applications for the 2024 cohort of its Hustle Academy, a programme dedicated to accelerating the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria. This year, the programme introduces a significant upgrade: business-focused artificial intelligence (AI) training integrated directly into the curriculum.

SMEs are the backbone of Africa’s economy, yet many face challenges accessing funding and developing the essential skills needed to grow their businesses. According to the International Finance Corporation (IFC), 40% of formal SMEs in developing countries have an unmet funding need of $5.2-trillion annually.

Google says the Hustle Academy aims to address this gap by providing comprehensive business education, mentorship, and networking opportunities. Since its launch in 2022, over 10,000 businesses have benefited from the programme. Participants who received grants nearly doubled their success rate in accessing new funding sources beyond friends and family, increasing from 11% to 20%. The programme has also spurred job creation, with an average of 4 new jobs for every 10 businesses that graduated.

The new AI modules focus on data-driven decisions, optimising operations, and building AI-powered marketing strategies. Participants explore practical applications through modules like “Boost Your Productivity with AI” and “Marketing Strategy and AI”.

Applications for the 2024 Hustle Academy cohort are open to SMEs in Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa, and the programme will run to the end of the year. 

* For more information and to apply, visit

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