Google launches program to accelerate economic recovery in MENA

'Grow Stronger with Google' offers digital tools, financial grants and loans, and training to help one million people and businesses find jobs, digitize and grow

Lino Cattaruzzi - Managing Director @Google MENA.

Lino Cattaruzzi - Managing Director @Google MENA.

  • In the UAE, Google pledges to mentor local businesses and help them grow online, especially those in retail and tourism

UAE - 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, training and financial grants to support local businesses and job seekers. In the UAE, the program will focus on supporting local businesses in retail and tourism.

Lino Cattaruzzi, Managing Director for Google in the Middle East and North Africa, said: "Online tools have been a life-line for many during the pandemic. Making the most of the online opportunity can help people, businesses and communities in the UAE and in the wider region bounce back stronger. Through our program, we 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 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 the UAE includes:

  • Digital skills & Cloud trainings 

    • In partnership with local organizations like NAMA Women Advancement Establishment, Dubai SME, Ajman University and University of Sharjah, Google will offer training in digital marketing to thousands of students and businesses in the UAE.

    • Host virtual training for UAE tech businesses on Cloud computing.
  • 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 financial grants to organizations like Mercy Corps, Arab Tourism Organization and Youth Business International, to mentor businesses and entrepreneurs across the region.
  • Digitizing local businesses in the UAE 
  • Get 50,000 local businesses online by listing them on Google my Business and training them in digital marketing, in partnership with the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry which along with Google verified 100,000 UAE businesses in the last two years.
  • Launch of Market Finder, a product by Google that helps local retailers identify new markets & acquire global customers.
  • Free access to UAE 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 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. A recent survey showed that 70% of UAE employees are reassessing their careers  because of Covid-19 and the most in demand jobs require applied digital skills.  

For more information about Grow Stronger with Google please visit

Quote from the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry:

“We are proud to further our collaboration with Google on this game-changing initiative, which builds on the remarkable progress achieved in boosting our members’ online presence in recent years. As we work towards our new target of helping over 50,000 local companies grow through Google My Business, we are raising the bar even higher by leading and involving business communities and chambers across the UAE in this campaign and leveraging our strategic partnership with Google to support businesses with digital marketing and training. I am confident that we will achieve this goal, foster smarter business practices among SMEs and unlock new growth opportunities in the UAE and beyond.” said H.E. Hamad Buamim, President & CEO of Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Quote from Mercy Corps:

Anita Ramachandran, executive director, MicroMentor said: “The generous support of will allow Mercy Corps and MicroMentor to connect 7,500 small business owners across the Middle East and North Africa to the world’s largest online mentoring community."

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