Google Inc on earlier in the week, announced the selection of 60 eligible startups across Africa with $4 million dollars funding to enable them scale up their ongoing work; Nigeria start-ups leads with 23 slots.
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The programme, which is called Google Black Founders Fund (BFF) for startups in Africa, is the second phase of the global tech giant’s funding for African startups.
Folarin Aiyegbusi, Google’s Head of Startup Ecosystem, Sub Sahara Africa, said in a statement that the startups joining the programme would receive a total of $4m in funding.
“Africa is a diverse continent with massive opportunities, but the continent is faced with the challenge of limited diversity in venture capital funding flow.
“We hope that the Black Founders Fund programme will be able to bridge the gap of disproportionate funding between expat startups over local and black-led companies.
“Each of the selected startups would receive support in the form of a six-month training programme that includes access to a network of mentors to assist in tackling challenges,’’ Aiyegbusi said.
Aiyegbusi announced that the 60 grantees would also get non-dilutive awards of between $50,000 and $100,000 and up to $200,000 in Google Cloud credit.
Reiterating that grantees, made up of 50 per cent women-led businesses, hailed from Botswana, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa and Uganda.
Aiyegbusi listed the startups area of specialisation as fintech, healthcare, e-commerce, logistics, agtech, education, hospitality and smart cities.
The top five countries with the most startups selected for the programme are Nigeria with 23 grantees, Kenya with 12 grantees, and Rwanda with six grantees. South Africa had five grantees and Uganda had four grantees.
Botswana and Senegal have one selected startup each, Cameroon and Ghana both have three grantees each while Ethiopia has two selected grantees.
The Google for Startups programme, which was launched in April 2012, had created over 4,600 jobs and raised more than $290 million dollars in funding.
He added that the programme would introduce the grantees in Africa to Google’s products, connections, and best practices.
Aiyegbusi said that it would help the founders to level the playing field as they built better products and services that added value to the African economy.
The funding for the programme will be distributed through Google’s implementation partner, CcHUB.
Also the equity-free cash assistance to startups would enable the startups to take care of immediate needs such as paying staff, funding inventory, and maintaining software licences.