Global tech giant, Google has announced an opening of applications for its Startups Accelerator programme as well as the launch of a fresh developer initiative in partnership with Pluralsight and Andela that will offer scholarships to 40,000 developers across the continent.
According to Google, these are in line with its commitment to support the growth of the startup ecosystem in Africa.
The announcements were made during a virtual event at which Google hosted key industry players, policy leads, startup executives and investors driving the growth of Africa’s tech ecosystem. They reviewed opportunities unfolding throughout the internet economy, paying special attention to the support of developers and startups in the region.
The Google for Startups Accelerator programme
The Google Launchpad Accelerator programme in Africa was launched in 2017 to support top seed startups on the continent. The launchpad accelerator has a target to provide over $3 million in equity-free support to more than 60 African tech startups.
The three-month programme serves as an opportunity for selected African startups to leverage Google’s vast resources and support to grow their products and companies into bigger brands. The aim is to support the growth of the startups through their crucial growth phases.
Applications for the 6th Cohort is slated to start on June 21, 2021, will be open until May 14.
This edition (now virtual) includes 3 intensive virtual training boot camps, mentorship and Google product support. It is open to applications from 17 countries across Africa, including Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
The accelerator trains participating startups on technology (AI/ML, Cloud, Android, Firebase), product, data, business, design, people, growth and fundraising, through interactive workshops and labs facilitated by Google experts and mentors.
Speaking on Google’s commitment to continuing the programme in spite of the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Onajite Emerhor, Head of Google for Startups Accelerator Africa said:
“Last year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the first virtual class of Google for Startups Accelerator Africa was launched. It was the first all-online iteration of Google’s accelerator program for Africa and saw 20 startups from seven countries undergo a 12-week virtual journey to redefine their offering while receiving mentoring and attending workshops. This year, with the 6th cohort, we want to continue to play our part by supporting developers and startups within the Africa tech ecosystem, ensuring they get all the access and support necessary to see them continue to grow.”
Scholarships for 40,000 Developers
Google’s new developer initiative offers scholarships to beginner and intermediate developers resident in Africa specifically for capabilities in Android, Web and Google Cloud developments.
A total of 40,000 scholarships will be offered to developers, spread across Mobile and Cloud development tracks. The top 1,000 students at the end of the training will earn a full scholarship to certify on Android or Cloud development.
Explaining Google’s goal at the event, Nitin Gajria, Managing Director of Google Sub-Saharan Africa said that the growth of entrepreneurship is crucial, especially in the African context. Gajria said that African developers and startups play a critical role in the transformation of the African economy.
“We recognise Africa’s exceptional digital potential, and that is why Google is committed to providing this critical support for African startups,”Nitin Gajria
The African startup ecosystem is a key driver of economic growth on the continent, with Africa’s tech space experiencing a significant upswing in startup success stories.
According to the Africa Internet Economy 2020 report sponsored by Google and IFC, Africa’s Internet economy is poised to boost the continent’s economy by 5.25% in the next five years. The report states that the headwinds caused by COVID-19 will not deter the growth of Africa’s internet economy, which is projected to contribute nearly $189 billion to Africa’s GDP by 2025, increasing to $712 billion by 2050.
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