Nigeria’s Helpmum among 30 startups selected for Google Social Impact Funding
Nigeria’s HelpMum is one of two Nigeria-focused enterprises selected by Google for its AI-based social for good startup funding. 30 startups were selected for the funding, with each startup standing a chance of getting up to $530,000. The Wildlife Conservation Society is the other Nigeria-focused startup.
HelpMum was selected into the Public Health category while Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) belongs in the Conservation category. The third category is Agriculture.
HelpMum founder, Dr Abiodun Adereni, told this reporter in a virtual chat that the selection will give the startup access to technical contributions from Google Engineers and AI experts, Computation Services as well as Google Cloud support.
In terms of funding, the startup will be receiving $30,000 dollars first and a research scientist from Vanderbilt University will be assigned to work with the team. With these resources, HelpMum will develop a pilot of the research that it proposed to Google and present it before further funding will be released.
Adereni said, “The total funding we will receive is not yet definite. Last year, one of the selected organizations received $530,000 as a follow-up funding to the first one. Some others did not get up to that but they received follow-up funding after the first one.”
This is the second time that HelpMum is benefitting from Google. The startup won the Google Impact Africa Challenge in 2019 and received $250,000 in funding. With this latest funding, Adereni says that it will enable the startup to use artificial intelligence (AI) and a data-driven approach to deliver increased value to pregnant women and nursing mothers in both rural and urban areas.
Hinting about the proposed innovation, the founder and CEO said it will have a big impact on the infant health sector and will be a solution that can be replicated across the world.
The AI for Social Good program is part of Google’s efforts to support non-profit companies and academics in using artificial intelligence to develop services that improve people’s lives. More than 150 enterprises participated in workshops held by Googlers after applying for the program.
To move ahead in the process, they submitted proposals for potential projects which Google experts reviewed and narrowed down. The final selection covers a wide range of projects that will impact 17 countries across the Asia-Pacific and Sub-Saharan Africa including India, Uganda, Nigeria and Australia.
The second Nigeria-focused startup, WCS, is focused on preserving wild species and landscapes and ensuring that wildlife thrives on land and in the seas. To further move it along its path of conservation, WCS will receive funding and work with Google engineers and AI experts to develop a solution that will leverage artificial intelligence for the preservation of nature.
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