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250,000 businesses to benefit from new economic recovery programme

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Arifu and Praekelt.org, supported by Google.org (Google) philanthropy platform, have launched a suite of free interactive training and information to help small businesses and micro-enterprises impacted by the COVID-19 navigate the challenges, stay up to date on regulatory changes and access products as well as services that will support their recovery.

By sending in the code “ABC” to 7205 on SMS or through WhatsApp, MSMEs are now able to chat with the Arifu Digital Adviser to access targeted digital training on services such as the COVID-1 9 specific advice on health, finances, business, education, stress management and digital literacy skills for business, which are adapted from GSMA’s mobile internet skills training toolkit.

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Other services available are job-seeking support tools, changing regulations relating to the COVID-19 measures and re-opening as well as information and linkages to recovery products and services.

The free service will be provided to low-income MSMEs, employment seekers and small-holder farmers in Nigeria with the objectives of increasing employment, income and resilience to economic shocks among beneficiaries. These are available on Arifu’s Open Marketplace, accessible using interactive SMS and WhatsApp through integration with Turn.io, an organisation incubated by Praekelt.org that helps social impact organisations have chat-based personal and guided conversations at a scale that improves lives.

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Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Arifu, Craig Heintzman, explained: “We are proud to join forces with Google.org, Praekelt.org and Turn.io to play a part in supporting the economic recovery of people impacted by this global pandemic.

“Governments, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and companies can now easily support the employment of job seekers and resilience of small businesses in their communities with this free chatbot-based learning content”.

Founder, Praekelt.org and Turn.io, Gustav Praekelt, said: “We are excited to use Turn.io technology to provide actionable resources and training to SMMEs in Nigeria with Google.org and Arifu during this challenging time”.

“Google.org is very pleased to support Praekelt.org and Arifu joining efforts and together accelerating tech solutions helping SMMEs in Nigeria through economic recovery. We believe that accessing information at no cost will be critical for beneficiaries to make informed decisions and sustain economic livelihoods”, said Sub-Saharan Africa Lead, Google.org.

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