This is what Google’s Hustle Academy aimed at this year

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This month Google reiterated its launch of an application for the 2024 leg of its Hustle Academy program dedicated to accelerating the growth of small and medium-sized businesses in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The program introduced a significant upgrade in the form of business-focused AI training integrated directly into the curriculum.

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Small and Medium sized businesses are Africa’s economic backbone but many struggle to access funding and development for business growth.

According to the International Finance Corporation (IFC), 40% of formal SMBs in developing countries have unmet funding need of $5.2 trillion annually.

The Hustle Academy aims to address this gap by providing comprehensive business education, mentorship, and networking opportunities.

Over 10,000 businesses have benefited from the program. Participants who received grants nearly doubled their success rate in accessing new funding sources beyond friends and family, increasing from 11% to 20%. The program has also spurred job creation, with an average of 4 new jobs for every 10 businesses that graduated.

Head of B2B Marketing for Sub Saharan Africa, Kristy Grant said AI held immense potential for African SMB’s and enabled them to drive innovation while increasing efficiency.

This enabled new levels of economic growth to be unlocked.

“The Hustle Academy has supported over 10,000 businesses that have gone ahead to raise funding and create jobs since inception. By incorporating AI into our curriculum, we aim to further amplify this impact, equipping SMBs to harness AI technologies for improved business performance and economic progress.”

The new AI modules focus on data-driven decisions, optimizing operations, and building AI-powered marketing strategies. Participants will explore practical applications through modules like “Boost Your Productivity with AI” and “Marketing Strategy and AI,” learning how to save time and supercharge digital outreach.

Applications for the 2024 Hustle Academy cohort are open to SMBs in Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa, and the program will run through the end of the year. For more information and to apply, visit

Also read: Why young South Africans battle without hourly smartphone dose

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