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Google Commits US$10M Towards Kenyan Startups, SMEs & Underserved Communities

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Google Commits US$10M Towards Kenyan Startups, SMEs & Underserved Communities

Google has committed US$10 million (around 1.1B Kenyan shillings) to help drive economic recovery in Kenya by supporting startups, SMEs and underserved communities recover from the pandemic.

The announcement was made during an exclusive high-level dialogue between Corporate Council on Africa, H.E Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya, and Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet.

The event was focused on how digital technologies and partnerships can unlock new pathways for economic growth in Africa. The dialogue was moderated by award-winning journalist, Zain Verjee, Founder & CEO of Zain Verjee Group.

CCA President and CEO, Florizelle Liser kicked off the dialogue, expressing that CCA was pleased to facilitate the conversation and connect the Silicon and Savannah Valleys. Ms Liser noted the significance of U.S.-Africa partnership, stating, “If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it is that we are better off working together, and our ability to collaborate is critical for post-pandemic economic recovery both here in the United States and Africa.”

During the discussion, H.E. President Kenyatta underlined the notable impact of technology as a driver of growth in Kenya over the past 20 years. “Today as we speak, as a result of digitization, technology, internet penetration, almost 95% of all Kenyans have access to financial services as opposed to less than 20 years ago when only 25% of the population had a bank account.”

Read: Catalyst Fund Selects 6 African Startups For Its Inclusive Fintech 2021 Cohort

Sundar Pichai, CEO Google and Alphabet shared in President Kenyatta’s optimism and emphasized Google’s commitment to supporting governments, businesses, and job seekers in Kenya and across Africa. Last year, in response to COVID-19, Google launched a US$1 million grant for Kenyan women financially affected by the pandemic, a digital hub to help 300,000 Kenyan SMEs get online, and initiatives to help students learn remotely.

Mr Pichai announced that US$10 million fund will go towards economic recovery in Kenya in light of the COVID-19 pandemic with US$2 million going towards local non -profits which are serving underserved communities in Kenya, US$3 million SMEs as small business loans and US$5 million to support technology startups to help them grow and develop.

Google has previously supported Kenyan businesses and communities recover and grow before and during the pandemic.

In September 2020, Google announced support for African businesses, job seekers and educational institutions in navigating the pandemic. Through Google for Education over 2,000 teachers, educators and guardians on remote teaching and learning, and online safety.

20 Kenyan technology-enabled companies have also graduated from Google for Startups Accelerator programs, where entrepreneurs receive access to Google’s mentors, products and best practices. 

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