On March 8, International Women’s Day, the Women Founders Cohort, a novel program, introduced its first cohort of female-founded businesses. In line with Google’s long-standing objective of enabling women in business in Africa, the selected women entrepreneurs will gain access to business and technical training, mentoring, and investment opportunities.
In a statement, Folarin Aiayegbusi, Google’s Head of Startup Ecosystem, Africa, stated, “We are happy to announce the selected firms for the inaugural cohort of our Google for Startups Accelerator Africa: Women Founders Cohort. We’re thrilled to help these women as they forge the future as take on some of Africa’s most critical issues.
The 15 chosen startups, which come from eight different African nations, are utilizing creativity and technology to create solutions that are changing people’s lives and communities.
This declaration follows Google’s ongoing efforts to achieve gender parity in its investments in African companies. Is Y Combinator just saying it cares about gender diversity in tech? Last year, Google sent a powerful statement to the ecosystem when its Black Founders Fund reached 100% gender parity.
Regarding gender parity, ecosystem criticisms against Google primarily centre on the distinction between Google’s focus on Africa and other profit-driven accelerators like Techstars and Y Combinator.
“Google wants to be the biggest early-stage investor in Africa’s upcoming largest businesses. They are engaged in a long-term strategy, and when these businesses reach their full potential, they will be aware of where to turn for sophisticated business solutions, such as cloud computing and software assisted by AI, claimed an unnamed tech entrepreneur.
Like several other startup investment initiatives Google has undertaken in Africa, the Black Founders Fund at Google is equity-free and can draw contributions of up to $150,000 in cash. To put things in perspective, Techstars gives out $120,000 for approximately 6-9% stock, while YC gives out $125,000 for an initial 7% stake. Some of these tech aficionados contend that Google might not have achieved its gender parity record so quickly if equity had been a business priority for the company. Even though the Black Founders Fund received more submissions from male entrepreneurs, Google reaffirmed last year that grants were awarded based on merit.
According to Google, the accelerator program’s main objective is to identify and support female startups laying the groundwork for Africa’s digital transformation.
The chosen startups
1. Farmer Lifeline (Kenya): A technology answer that gives smallholder farmers a technological advantage over agricultural pests and crop illnesses to boost crop productivity.
2. Gobeba (Kenya): An online store that delivers large household necessities to urban households in expanding African cities.
3. Zydii (Kenya): A top localized digital training solution that is interesting to and available to the workforce in Africa, resulting in transformative growth for organizations.
4. Mipango (Tanzania): A mass-market and female-targeted personal finance app.
5. Smart Ikigega (Rwanda): Giving farmers digital access to financial services and eradicating post-harvest loss.
6. Afriwell Health (Congo): Quickly and effectively links Congo patients with medical professionals worldwide.
7. Alajo App (Nigeria): A digital piggy bank for Africa’s unbanked and non-smartphone users; it creates an escrowed banking system between Agents and Users utilizing USSD and SMS, assisting people in daily financial planning.
8. Kola Market (Ghana): A full-stack B2B e-Commerce platform offering Guaranteed Sales, Smart Inventory Suggestions, and Product Funding to SMEs in Africa
9. Maxibuy (Nigeria): A platform for cooperative inventory procurement and banking services that enables Nigerian bulk consumer goods merchants to expand their operations and take advantage of economies of scale.
10. MosMos (Kenya): An African platform for saving money.
11. eWaka (Kenya): A ride-sharing platform that provides on-demand electric micro-mobility for individual usage and sustainable logistics for delivery companies.
12. Hepta Pay (Rwanda): A service that links card payments with mobile money accounts to facilitate inflows from the diaspora.
13. Jem HR (South Africa): This program allows companies to issue payslips, handle leave requests, handle salary advances, and connect with thousands of front-line staff members over WhatsApp with ease. It can be plugged into any HR and payroll system.
14. Switch (Cameroon): Promotes the growth of underbanked and unbanked populations by offering digital financial services.
15. Tyms Africa (Nigeria): Provides quick microcredit to African micro businesses.