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Africa Blog

Google in Africa

Supporting startups and SMEs in Africa

The Internet is playing a key role in Africa's economic transition, generating new possibilities and paving the path for economic and social growth. According to a 2020 report, Africa’s Internet economy is expected to contribute nearly $189 billion to the continent’s overall GDP by 2025, rising to $712 billion by 2050. At Google, we recognize the immense potential of the ecosystem's key players, and we remain steadfast in our commitment to developing targeted programs that assist them in accessing technical and financial assistance to support them in developing technologies that will benefit everyone.

Today we're excited to announce new initiatives that reaffirm our commitment to African startups, and extend our support for underserved communities. The programs, which include a $3 million USD Black Founders Fund for African startups and a $3 million USD grant to help low-income communities develop entrepreneurial skills and funding, will help Black founders grow their businesses not only by providing capital but also by providing access to the best of Google resources. We're also welcoming 15 companies from across the continent to the sixth class of our Google for Startups Accelerator: Africa program.

Google for Startups Black Founders Fund Africa
Between 2020 and 2021, more African companies completed more funding rounds than in any prior year, with transactions rising by almost 50%. While remarkable, this achievement is not translating to the same level of success for Black founders on the continent. Research shows that African founded startups find it difficult to secure financial support, and are faced with insufficient starting capital, a lack of angel investors and more.

Last year we announced the Google for Startups Black Founders Fund as part of a series of racial equity commitments to close the funding gap and empower Black entrepreneurs in the US, Brazil and Europe. Given the proven success of the Black Founders Fund around the world, we are expanding the program with the first $3M Black Founders Fund in Africa.

A image of the Black founders Fund Africa initiative

The Google for Startups Black Founders Fund Africa provides grants and technical assistance to early-stage startups led by black and diverse teams, or with a goal of advancing the Black community. This $3M non-dilutive fund will be allocated across a pipeline of 50 investable startups in Africa, with each firm receiving up to $100,000 in cash awards. Each selected company will also receive $220,000 in Google Cloud Credits and Ad Grants, as well as mentoring, technical and scaling assistance from the best of Google. The equity-free fund is available to entrepreneurs developing for Africa, on the continent.

We have partnered with the Co-Creation Hub, a Google for Startups partner and leading tech community hub with presence in Nigeria, Kenya and Rwanda, to distribute the funding to the 50 selected companies across Africa.

Applications are open from today until July 7th and eligible startups can visit now to apply.

$3 million USD grantBeyond the tech startup scene, there are entrepreneurs tackling day-to-day problems on a smaller, but equally significant scale. Our commitment in the region extends to these groups too. Studies indicate that entrepreneurship is essential for unlocking the essential economic benefits that Africa needs to prosper in a post-pandemic environment via employment and wealth development. However, not all entrepreneurs have the resources or know-how to run successful businesses, with women entrepreneurs being at a greater risk of having companies that are the most impacted by the epidemic.

Women entrepreneurs must have access to knowledge, skills, tools, and funding in order to reach their full potential.

Since 2017, through a $20M commitment has prioritized funding to nonprofit organizations that support access to economic opportunity for women in Sub-Saharan Africa. We recognize that, alongside financing, bespoke learning solutions and mentoring programs are required for accelerating women-led companies.

This is why is giving $3M to the Tony Elumelu Foundation, who through their annual entrepreneurship program will provide entrepreneurship training, mentorship, coaching and access to networks and key markets for at least 5000 women, as well as seed capital in the form of one-time cash grants to 500 African female informal business-owners in rural and low-income communities across Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya and select Francophone countries. We believe this will enable and prepare these women who otherwise wouldn’t have had the opportunity to navigate their independent businesses journey through the critical start-up and early growth phase. 

Google for Startups Accelerator: Africa

We introduced the Google for Startups Accelerator: Africa program in 2018 to support the startup ecosystem, and have so far supported 67 startups from 17 African countries who have collectively raised $72M and created 2800 direct jobs.

The is an image containing the logos of all selected startups for the Google for Startups Accelerator: Africa Class 6

This year, we selected 15 high-potential startups to join our most diverse class yet, with 47% women cofounders from across seven countries and seven sectors. These companies are using technology to build exciting products and solve some of Africa’s biggest challenges, with massive potential to contribute to the billion dollar Africa internet economy GDP. We are proud to introduce our sixth class of Google for Startups Accelerator: Africa to you today:

  1. Angaza Elimu (Kenya): an Education technology startup delivering quality and relevant education on demand using AI.
  2. Chekkit (Nigeria): A patented consumer intelligence, engagement & loyalty software-as-a-service for authentication, and tracking and tracing of consumer goods and pharmaceutical products.
  3. Emergency Response Africa (Nigeria): A healthcare technology startup connecting first responders and verified emergency-ready hospitals to emergency victims.
  4. Envisionit Deep AI (South Africa): RADIFY is the AI product developed by Envisionit Deep AI that detects and highlights abnormalities across medical diagnostic images.
  5. GeroCare (Nigeria): A cloud-based hospital that enables individuals to provide regular home medical care for their elderly loved ones.
  6. Khula! (South Africa): An ecosystem of digital platforms (mobile and web) that exist to make the agricultural value chain more efficient & fair.
  7. Ndovu (Kenya): A micro-investment platform providing access to financial markets, financial literacy and tools to diversify financial risk.
  8. Nguvu Health (Nigeria): Preventive and Corrective Tech for mental health
  9. OneHealth (Nigeria): A digital-first pharmacy and healthcare platform, leveraging technology to provide access to medicines, information and healthcare providers.
  10. PayWay Ethiopia (Ethiopia): With its fully functional payment technologies, PayWay is digitizing payments in Ethiopia.
  11. Tabiri Analytics Inc (Rwanda): Comprehensive and automated cyber security as a service for enterprises in the underserved markets.
  12. Tendo (Ghana): Tendo enables anyone in Africa to sell online with zero capital investment.
  13. Third.Design (Tunisia): A software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform that helps individuals easily design 3D immersive experiences.
  14. Vittas International (Nigeria): A tech-enabled financing platform that extends credit to healthcare SMEs in Nigeria.
  15. Whoosh (South Africa): A digital payments solution enabling merchants and businesses to expand online.

The programs we're launching today are essential to our efforts to create platforms and initiatives that will aid in the development of Africa's digital economy. We are thrilled to be a part of this story.

Posted by Nitin Gajria, Managing Director, Google Africa & Rowan Barnett, Head of EMEA