Google Hustle Academy Returns with AI Boost for African SMBs


Applications are now open for the 2024 cohort of Google Hustle Academy, a program dedicated to empowering Sub-Saharan Africa’s small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). This year’s iteration brings a significant upgrade: the integration of business-focused AI training directly into the curriculum.

SMBs: Africa’s Economic Engine, Facing Funding Obstacles

SMBs are the lifeblood of Africa’s economic development. However, many struggle to access vital funding and acquire the necessary skills to navigate growth. The International Finance Corporation (IFC) reports a staggering $5.2 trillion annual funding gap faced by 40% of formal SMBs in developing countries.

Hustle Academy: Bridging the Gap

Launched in 2022, the Hustle Academy directly addresses these challenges by offering comprehensive business education, mentorship opportunities, and valuable networking platforms. Over 10,000 businesses have benefitted from the program to date.

Kristy Grant, Head of B2B Marketing, SSA commented, “Artificial intelligence (AI) holds immense potential for African small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), enabling them to drive innovation, increase efficiency, and unlock new levels of economic growth. The Hustle Academy has supported over 10,000 businesses who 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, optimising 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

Tangible Results: Funding, Jobs, and Growth

The program boasts impressive results. Participating businesses that received grants saw their success rate in accessing new funding sources (beyond friends and family) nearly double, jumping from 11% to 20%. Additionally, the program has shown a significant impact on job creation, with an average of 4 new positions created for every 10 businesses that graduate.

The AI Advantage: Empowering Businesses for the Future

The 2024 cohort introduces a new dimension – AI training specifically tailored for the needs of SMBs. This exciting addition equips participants with the knowledge and skills to leverage the power of AI and gain a competitive edge in the evolving digital landscape.

By integrating AI alongside traditional business education, Google’s Hustle Academy is poised to further empower African SMBs, fostering growth, job creation, and a more robust entrepreneurial ecosystem across the continent.

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