NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 22 – Google has announced a US$6 million or Sh642 million program to support African startups and underserved communities in the continent.
The firm’s Managing Director for Google Africa Nitin Gajria and Rowan Barnett the Head of Google.org EMEA said the programs will reaffirm its commitment to Africa.
The programs include a $3 million USD Black Founders Fund for African startups and a $3 million USD Google.org grant to help low-income communities develop entrepreneurial skills and funding.
The funding is expected to help African founders grow their businesses not only by providing capital but also by providing access to the best of Google resources.
At the same time, Google has also invited 15 companies from across the continent to the sixth class of the Google for Startups Accelerator: Africa program
Nitin and Barnett said the Google for Startups Black Founders Fund Africa will provide grants and technical assistance to early-stage startups led by black and diverse teams, or with a goal of advancing the Black community.
According to Google, the $3M non-dilutive fund will be allocated across a pipeline of 50 investable startups in Africa, with each firm receiving up to $100,000 in cash awards.
Each selected company will also receive $220,000 in Google Cloud Credits and Ad Grants, as well as mentoring, technical, and scaling assistance from the best of Google. The equity-free fund is available to entrepreneurs developing for Africa, on the continent.
On the other hand, the US$3 million Google.org grant will target entrepreneurs tackling day-to-day problems on a smaller, but equally, significant scale, operating beyond the tech startup scene.
The funding will be given to the Tony Elumelu Foundation, who through their annual entrepreneurship program will provide entrepreneurship an array of help to startups.
This includes training, mentorship, coaching, and access to networks and key markets for at least 5000 women, as well as seed capital in the form of one-time cash grants to 500 African female informal business-owners in rural and low-income communities across Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya and select Francophone countries.
“We believe this will enable and prepare these women who otherwise wouldn’t have had the opportunity to navigate their independent businesses journey through the critical start-up and early growth phase,” the representatives of Google said.
The company has also already selected 15 high potential startups to join its Google for Startups Accelerator: Africa program, among them women co-founders from across 7 countries and 7 sectors.
“These companies are using technology to build exciting products and solve some of Africa’s biggest challenges with massive potential to contribute to the billion-dollar African internet economy GDP,” the company said.
The selected startups include Kenya’s Angaza Elimu, Ethiopia’s PayWay, Rwanda’s Tabiri Analytics, Nigeria’s Vittas International, and South Africa’s Whoosh, among others.
“The programs we’re launching today are essential to our efforts to create platforms and initiatives that will aid in the development of Africa’s digital economy. We are thrilled to be a part of this story.”