Internet giant, Google has announced it is extending the LaunchPad Accelerator Africa programme to include startups from a further 12 African countries of Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Cameroon, Botswana, Sénégal, Ethiopia, Cote d’Ivoire, Algeria.
The existing countries of Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda in the class 1 of the programme will be retained. Interested startups can apply here: https://developers.google.com/startups/regional/. Applications for Class 2 will close on 8 July.
To qualify, startups have to be a technology startup, based in Sub-Saharan Africa, targeting the African market, and have raised seed funding. Google additionally considers the problem the startup is trying to solve, how it creates value for users, and how it addresses a real challenge for its home city, country or Africa broadly.
Startups in the The Google Launchpad Accelerator Africa Class 1 graduated in Lagos yesterday.
“The three month programme has connected the 12 participating startups with more than 20 teams from Google as well as 40 mentors from nine countries including India, the UK, USA and Jamaica. Each has received $10 000 in an equity-free cash grant, and between them they have raised over $7 million. The startups have directly created 132 jobs and impacted 4.5 million users,” says Folagbade Olatunji-david, head of startup success and services, Launchpad Accelerator Africa, Google.
Launchpad Accelerator Africa was announced less than a year ago by Google CEO Sundar Pichai at Google for Nigeria on 27 July. In terms of his announcement, the Google Launchpad Accelerator Africa programme will provide African startups with over $3 million in equity-free support, working space, and access to expert advisers from Google, Silicon Valley, and Africa over the next three years. Participants receive travel and PR support during each three-month program.
“We are humbled to be part of the success stories of these 12 startups, and as individuals we have learned great lessons from their dedication, focus and drive. The companies will now go on to be part of the global Launchpad Alumni network, joining over 100 companies from 40 countries across 5 continents,” Olatunji-David added.
Google is committed to the Sub-Saharan Africa developer ecosystem and has, since April 2016, hosted 13 Launchpad Build and Start events across Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa, featuring some 228 speakers and engaging 590 attendees from local startups in each country.
It also runs programs such as Google Developer Groups and Women Techmakers, providing training and support for developers aligned with real-life job competency requirements. Community groups engage in activities like Study Jams – study groups for developers. There are some 140 communities across 25 countries in SSA. Some 61 of these groups hosted 81 Study Jams in 10 countries reaching over 5 000 developers in the last year.