Google has announced a R50-million Covid-19 response grant to help businesses and individuals recover from the impact of the pandemic.

The money will be distributed in South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa focusing on education, small businesses and jobseekers. It includes a digital hub with free tools to get back online.

The company says it will help half a million SMBs get back on their feet as they grapple with the “new normal” and begin to rebuild and recover from the impact of Covid-19 crisis locally and across the continent. It will support 500 000 SMBs and 25 000 teachers.

“Small businesses have been hardest hit during this period. Many of them have had to figure out quickly how to pivot their operations to a ‘digital-first’ approach. Yet, there remains a gap between those who can access these online opportunities and those who can’t. That’s the gap we want to bridge with this initiative,” says Google South Africa Country Director Alistair Mokoena.

Digital Hub
The digital hub can be accessed on with sub-categories for individuals, businesses and the classroom. For example, it shows you how to create a business profile to get more customers; use ads; get support; and access to finance, etc.

Marketing Tools
A new Marketing Kit tool and Market Finder tool, which includes updated insights for negotiating a COVID and post-COVID environment, helps with localisation, international payments, and logistics for African businesses.

IT Support Certification
Underserved communities are invited to apply for Google’s free IT Support Certificate as a launchpad into a career in IT. It aimed to take beginner learners to job readiness within three to six months. It is free and starts today. It is a 5-course certificate, developed by Google, and includes an innovative curriculum designed to prepare you for an entry-level role in IT support.

“We will continue to do our part to help businesses recover and grow, help more people prepare for jobs, and support students, teachers and underserved communities. And in-so-doing, we hope to create real economic opportunity for everyone,” adds Mokoena.

The breakdown of the R50m grant is as follows:

– R16,6 M ($1M) is going to an organisation in Kenya
– Another R4.16M ($250k) is going to an organisation in Nigeria
– R12.4m (750k) make up the IT Support scholarships
– R8.3m ($500k) is going to the Praeklt Foundation
– R8.3m ($500k) is going to Youth Employment Services