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Google expands its Startup Accelerator Programme to Africa

Google has announced that entrepreneurs from Algeria, Botswana, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, and Zimbabwe are now eligible to apply for its three-month virtual accelerator program.

This comes just five months after the tech giant reaffirmed its commitment to Africa’s startup ecosystem by awarding $6 million in grants and funding to the Tony Elumelu Foundation and the Black Founders Fund (BFF) Africa program.

The Google for Startups Accelerator (GFSAA) is a technology program for startups from Seed to Series A that is open to startups from all over Africa. The accelerator’s goal is to provide the best of Google’s programs, products, personnel, and technology to entrepreneurs who use or plan to use machine learning and AI in their businesses.

Through the Google for Startups Accelerator Africa’s week-long virtual boot camps, every month from March to May 2022, successful early-growth stage startup applicants (from seed to Series A) will gain access to equity-free support, as well as the best of the company’s networks, advanced technology, experts, and mentors.

Deep dives and workshops on product design, customer acquisition, and leadership development for founders are also included in the accelerator, as well as specialized training, media opportunities, and access to Google’s network of engineers and experts.

“Through the seventh Class of GFSAA, we are thrilled to have yet another opportunity to meet with African innovators and empower them,” Andy Volk, who heads Google’s developer and startup ecosystem operations in Sub-Saharan Africa, said. Adding that, as it has in the past, Google is on the cusp of uncovering some fantastic technology-led solutions to some of the continent’s most pressing concerns.

According to Onajite Emerhor, Head of Google for Startups Accelerator Africa, the program was held online for the first time in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic: “In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the inaugural virtual class of Google for Startups Accelerator Africa was launched last year. It was the first all-online iteration of Google’s African accelerator program, with 20 businesses from seven countries participating in a 12-week virtual journey to redefine their product while receiving mentoring and attending workshops.

 
 

Regional accelerators run by Google Developers are geared to their regions and give companies access to the best of Google—its people, network, and innovative technologies—to help them build outstanding products. This methodology has been utilized to target different audiences such as game developers and non-profits, using the experience learned from running business accelerators.

The Google Launchpad Accelerator program was introduced in Africa in 2017 to support the continent’s top seed entrepreneurs. To date, 82 firms from 17 African nations have taken part, raising over US$117 million in capital and creating over 2,800 employment across the continent. The launchpad accelerator aims to provide over $3 million in equity-free support to more than 60 African internet entrepreneurs.

Recall that Google announced the start of registration for its 7th startup accelerator program, as well as the launch of a new developer initiative in partnership with Plural sight and Andela, which will offer scholarships to 40,000 developers across the continent beginning in November 2021 and ending on January 14, 2022.

“Through the seventh Class of GFSAA, we are honoured to have yet another opportunity to interact with African innovators and empower them. We are on the verge of unearthing some great technology-led solutions to some of the continent’s most serious concerns, produced by Africans themselves, as we have in prior Classes,” says Andy Volk.
 
Ndovu, is one of the success stories from Class 6 alumni which is dedicated to empowering Africans to generate wealth by teaching financial awareness and giving tools to aid in diversifying financial risks, boosting security, and increasing financial resilience, is one of these options, according to Volk. Ndovu now has a gender-balanced staff with a 50% female staff complement and 50% female board members, with a 53% female client base. The following were selected for the sixth class of Google for Startups Accelerator Africa, to assist African tech startups during their critical growth stages.
 
Nigeria led the group with six selections namely, Chekkit which is an Emergency Response and Africa’s first responder platform, GeroCare’s home care platform, Nguvu Health’s mental health service, OneHealth’s digital-first pharmacy, and Vittas International’s health finance platform.
 
Three of the companies were selected from South Africa: AI company Envisionit Deep AI, agribusiness value chain solutions provider Khula! and digital payments solution Whoosh, while Angaza Elimu, an ed-tech business, and Ndovu, a micro-investment platform, were both selected from Kenya. Ethiopian payments company PayWay, Rwandan cybersecurity platform Tabiri Analytics, e-commerce platform Tendo, and 3D immersive experiences design platform Third make up the rest of the cohort. Piggyvest, 54 Gene, WellaHealth, and ScholarX are some of the Google Launchpad Accelerator’s alumni.

 

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