Google opens applications for R64m fund targeting Africa

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Google has committed $4 million (R64 million) to fund 60 eligible black-founded start-ups across Africa.

The internet firm yesterday opened applications for the second cohort of the Google for Start-ups Black Founders Fund for Africa.

The fund was launched in the wake of the 2020 Black Lives Matter movement as part of Google’s racial equality commitments. The initiative is a pledge by the company towards driving economic opportunity for black business owners.

The fund provides support to start-ups in the form of equity-free cash assistance that helps them take care of immediate needs, such as paying staff, funding inventory and maintaining software licences.

Selected start-ups will receive $50 000 to $100 000 non-dilutive cash awards and up to $200 000 per start-up in Google Cloud credits, support in the form of training, and access to a network of mentors to assist in tackling the challenges unique to each start-up.

Google opened applications for start-ups that meet the eligibility criteria in Botswana, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

In a statement, Google says the 13 countries were identified as main focus areas due to their active tech and start-up ecosystems, but strong applications from other African countries will also be considered.

“The Black Founders Fund Africa demonstrates our commitment to supporting innovation in underserved areas. Black-led tech start-ups face an unfair venture capital funding environment and that is why we are committed to helping them thrive, grow to be better and ensure the success of communities and economies in our region,” says Folarin Aiyegbusi, head of start-up ecosystem for Africa at Google.

“The fund will provide cash awards and hands-on support to 60 black-led start-ups in Africa, which we hope will aid in developing affordable solutions to fundamental challenges affecting those at the base of the socio-economic pyramid in Africa.

“We are hopeful that the support received by the black founders will enable them to grow their business and in turn drive economic growth in Africa as they create solutions and give back to their communities.”

Interested parties can apply here.

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