International MSME business day, June 27, 2023. Mercy Corps’ MicroMentor is working to expand access to mentorship for underserved and difficult-to-reach entrepreneurs in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) through the development of an open-source mobile mentorship application. The app will be developed with pro bono support from Google through a dedicated team of nine Google employees participating in the Google.org Fellowship program.
MicroMentor reports that in 2022, entrepreneurs with mentors were 12% more likely to access financial capital than those without, and 51% of female-owned small businesses increased their revenue when they worked with a mentor. Yet, many entrepreneurs lack access to those powerful connections and resources. Female entrepreneurs also face additional challenges. Only 5% of MENA businesses are female-led, compared to the global average of 26%. Mercy Corps’s MicroMentor and Google.org’s project will help change that.
The project will reach a total of 5,000 mentors, including 1,750 female entrepreneurs, and especially those incorporating sustainability into their business models, to help close the gap in social capital for underrepresented global entrepreneurs.
The support from the Google.org Fellowship builds on a $1 million grant from Google.org to support MicroMentor’s work to increase the knowledge and adoption of sustainable business practices for MSMEs in the region.
“We are thrilled to receive this support from Google.org to help expand access to mentorship for female entrepreneurs in the MENA region,“ said Anita Ramachandran, Executive Director of MicroMentor. “By leveraging Google’s technical expertise and resources, we can overcome geographical limitations and deliver business resources at scale to under-resourced communities through mentoring.”
Martin Roeske, Google’s Government Affairs and Public Policy Director for MENA said “At Google, we believe that successful, sustained business mentorship can drive significant outcomes for mentees. By supporting MicroMentor with our most valuable resource – our Google tech experts – we hope to make a contribution to their goal of supporting green businesses and empowering female entrepreneurs in the region.”
This collaborative effort marks a significant step towards strengthening the growth and prosperity of MSMEs in the MENA region while acknowledging their essential contribution to economic development and community development. Through the expansion of mentoring resources and the provision of essential tools and knowledge to MSMEs, this initiative strives to create an inclusive and vibrant business ecosystem in the MENA region and beyond.
About Mercy Corps’ MicroMentor:
MicroMentor’s online business mentoring program enables the world’s largest community of purpose-driven entrepreneurs and business mentors to create powerful connections, solve problems, and build successful businesses together.
Google.org, Google’s philanthropy, brings the best of Google to help solve some of humanity’s biggest challenges combining funding, product donations, and technical expertise to support underserved communities and provide an opportunity for everyone. The Google.org Fellowship is a pro bono program that matches Google employees with nonprofits and civic entities for technical projects.