Google pledges $2.2m to help local businesses and support relief efforts in Beirut

The California-based company said its employees will help Lebanese business owners upskill and adapt to challenges ahead of them

Google will fund Youth Business International, a global entrepreneur support network, offering support to Lebanese businesses and entrepreneurs. Reuters
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Google is committing a grant of $2.2 million (Dh8.1m) to support local relief efforts in Beirut and help small businesses affected by the deadly explosion that rocked the city on August 4.

The funds, raised under Google’s employee donation matching programme, will be allocated to local NGOs in Lebanon that provide medical relief, public shelter and food donations to the victims, the California-based company said in a statement on Monday.

“We are deeply saddened by the tragic explosion in Beirut. Our thoughts go out to every person in and outside of Lebanon [who are] impacted,” Lino Cattaruzzi, managing director for Google in the Middle East and North Africa, said.

“The Google donation will go to local NGOs and charitable organisations that are doing hard work on the ground to serve affected and displaced individuals and families,” said Mr Cattaruzzi.

Google will also fund Youth Business International (YBI), a global entrepreneur support network, to help local Lebanese businesses and entrepreneurs recover.

YBI’s Rapid Response and Recovery programme will offer crisis helplines, targeted advice, training and webinars to support the most affected businesses and entrepreneurs, the company said.

The programme will also include mentorship by Google employees who will help business owners upskill and adapt to challenges ahead of them.

“Across our products from Search, Maps and YouTube, we will continue to drive donations, support local businesses, and give access to critical information that people there [in Lebanon] need at this very difficult time,” said Mr Cattaruzzi.

Lebanon has been reeling from the explosion, which caused widespread damage to Beirut's infrastructure and injured more than 6,000 people.

Last week, Facebook donated $2.1m to local hospitals, medical institutions and NGOs to support relief and recovery efforts.

The Facebook Journalism Project, in collaboration with the International Centre for Journalists, announced that it will invest $300,000 in a new programme to support the stabilisation and recovery needs of journalists and news organisations in Lebanon affected by the tragedy.

It will assist in supporting local news outlets, whose infrastructure and resources were damaged by the blast.

“Our hearts go out to the people of Lebanon and everyone affected by this immeasurable tragedy,” Ramez Shehadi, managing director of Facebook in MENA, said.

The luxury French fashion house Chanel also donated $700,000 to Lebanese charities.