U.S. and Google partner to provide training and mentorship to hundreds of SMEs in Egypt

The United States government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), is collaborating with Google to train and mentor hundreds of Egyptian women and youth business owners, as well as business advisors, in 2021.

Through a focus on digital skills and online marketing, the program will help entrepreneurs build and promote their online brands and will equip business advisors with the skills to better support startups. The COVID-19 pandemic amplified the importance of e-commerce and of helping businesses survive and thrive, making this partnership with Google, and all U.S. government programs that support entrepreneurship, even more vital.

USAID and Google selected 20 youth- and women-owned startups and 50 business advisors for the pilot phase of the project. The participants have all contributed to building Egypt’s entrepreneurship ecosystem through previous participation in USAID projects and are part of Egypt’s leading networks — established by USAID — including the Women’s Entrepreneurship Network, the Youth Entrepreneurship Network, and Tiye Angels, which is Egypt’s first women’s angel investment network.

The program combines tailored mentoring and consultation with courses offered through Google’s respected “Maharat min Google” (“Skills from Google”) e-learning platform. This site provides free courses, tools, and training on digital marketing in Arabic to students, educators, job seekers, and businesses. It is part of Google’s regional “Grow Stronger with Google” initiative, which U.S. Ambassador Jonathan R. Cohen participated in the launch event in October 2020. The initiative is focused on accelerating the pace of economic recovery in the region by helping one million businesses and individuals in MENA learn digital skills and grow their businesses by the end of 2021.

In addition to this collaboration with Google, the United States has a long history of supporting Egyptian entrepreneurs. The U.S. Embassy in Cairo supports hundreds of local entrepreneurs annually at every level, starting with training youth in the soft skills essential to entrepreneurship. The Embassy sends up-and-coming, early-stage entrepreneurs on many professional development programs, including a Spring 2021 series of skills-building workshops for women start-up founders. Through USAID, the U.S. government played a key role in transforming the entire entrepreneurship ecosystem in Egypt by establishing some of the country’s first business incubators and attracting private and public sector partners to join the initial U.S. investment. In total, the U.S. has helped more than 10,000 Egyptians strengthen their businesses through mentorship programs, incubators, and accelerators.

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