Lino Cattaruzzi

Riyadh "Riyadh Daily"
Google launches program to accelerate economic recovery in MENA

Google announced today ‘Grow Stronger with Google’, a new program to accelerate the MENA region’s economic recovery through digital transformation, by offering digital tools, grants and training to support local businesses and job seekers. In Saudi Arabia, the program will focus on supporting local businesses in retail and tourism, and tech entrepreneurs. 

Lino Cattaruzzi, Managing Director for Google in MENA, said:"During the pandemic, online tools have been a life-line for many in Saudi Arabia. Making the most of the online opportunity can help Saudi people, businesses and communities and in the wider region more broadly bounce back stronger. Our program will help people learn new skills and find jobs, and help businesses grow online, especially those in the retail and tourism sectors that have been most affected. We remain fundamentally optimistic about the future of this region, and we're confident that working together with local partners, we can boost recovery and build on the rapid acceleration of tech adoption we’ve seen during the crisis."


The ‘Grow Stronger with Google’ program in Saudi Arabia includes:

• Digital skills & Cloud trainings 

- In partnership with local organizations like the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (Atta Digital), the Ministry of Tourism, and Wadi Makkah, Google will offer training in digital marketing to 50,000 students, artisans and businesses in Saudi Arabia.

- Host virtual training for Saudi tech businesses on Cloud computing.

- Train 140,000 developers, with a focus on women, on advanced digital skills covering topics like Futter and Machine Learning.



• Mentorship of businesses  

- Launch of ‘Google for Startups Accelerator’, an open call for MENA entrepreneurs and startups to apply for mentorship and training by experts from Google and others on digital marketing and strategies. The first cohort of 15 startups will be selected in November and will last for three months.

- $1.1 million USD worth of Google.org financial grants to organizations like Mercy Corps, Arab Tourism Organization and Youth Business International, to mentor businesses and entrepreneurs across the region.


• Digitizing local Saudi businesses  

- Get 100,000 local businesses online by listing them on Google my Business and training them in digital marketing, in partnership with Saudi Post in the next 18 months.  

- Launch of Market Finder, a product that will help local businesses grow to new markets & acquire global customers.

- Free access to Saudi retailers to list their products on the Google Shopping tab, to help them connect with more customers regardless of whether they advertise with Google.


As part of its region-wide program, Google is pledging to help one million people and businesses in MENA learn digital skills and grow their businesses by the end of 2021. Google is also pledging $4 million USD in Google.org grants and loans, and over $9 million USD in Ad Grants and credits for governments and businesses.

In 2018, Google launched Maharat min Google, a digital skills training program, which to date has been completed by one million Arabic speakers in MENA.

According to the Arab Monetary Fund, around 6 million jobs are now at risk in the Arab world, and the most in demand jobs in the Kingdom require applied digital skills.  

For more information about Grow Stronger with Google please visit grow.google/intl/mena



About Grow Stronger with Google in MENA

 

‘Grow Stronger with Google’ is a new program to accelerate the MENA region’s economic recovery through digital transformation, by offering digital tools, training and financial grants to support local businesses and job seekers. 

As part of its region-wide program, Google is pledging to - 

• Help one million people and businesses in MENA learn digital skills and grow their businesses by the end of 2021.

• $4 million USD in Google.org grants and loans

• Get 150,000 local businesses online in UAE and KSA

• $9 million USD in Ad Grants and credits for governments and businesses. 


Below three pillars of the program in MENA:

1.  Digital skills & Mentorship

General digital skills: 

• Training in digital marketing to 300,000 students and businesses in the MENA region in partnership with local organizations and authorities including the Ministry of Youth and Sports, and the Egyptian Tourism Federation in Egypt, the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (Atta Digital), and the Ministry of Tourism in Saudi Arabia, and NAMA Women Advancement Establishment and Dubai SME in the UAE. 


Advanced skills: 

• Host virtual training for thousands of tech businesses on Cloud computing.

• Train 400,000 developers, with a focus on women, on advanced digital skills covering topics like Flutter and Machine Learning, 140,000 in which will be from Saudi Arabia.

 

Mentorship: 

• Launch of ‘Google for Startups Accelerator’, an open call for MENA entrepreneurs and startups to apply for mentorship and training by experts from Google and others on digital marketing and strategies. The first cohort of 15 startups will be selected in November and will last for three months.

• $1.1 million USD worth of Google.org financial grants to organizations like Mercy Corps, Arab Tourism Organization and Youth Business International, to mentor businesses and entrepreneurs across the region.


2.  Digitizing businesses

• Launch of Market Finder, a product by Google that will help local businesses grow to new markets & acquire global customers. It will be available in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. 

• Free access to retailers in MENA to list their products on the Google Shopping tab, to help them connect with more customers regardless of whether they advertise with Google.

• Get 100,000 local businesses in Saudi Arabia online by listing them on Google my Business and training them on digital marketing, in partnership with Saudi Post, and another 50,000 local businesses in the UAE in partnership with the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry.


Access to capital 

Offer $3 million USD in loans to support thousands of underserved small businesses in partnership with Kiva, an online lending platform - $2 million will go to Egypt.


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