Google has announced the launch and opening of applications of a new US$3 million Black Founders Fund (BFF) Africa programme, and a Google.org-backed US$3 million grant to the Tony Elumelu Foundation to support female entrepreneurs on the continent.
15 startups from across the continent had been selected for the sixth cohort of the Google for Startups Accelerator Africa, which kicks off today. The three-month online programme, which includes virtual training bootcamps, mentorship and Google product support, is designed to support these nascent businesses through their early growth phases.
In a further show of support for innovation on the continent, a new US$3 million Google for Startups Black Founders Fund Africa is launching as part of Google’s global commitment to support underserved communities. This fund, which is part of the company’s racial equity commitments announced in June 2020, will provide cash awards and hands-on support to 50 black-led startups in Africa.
Unlike most startup investments, it does not require founders to give up any equity in exchange for funding. Google will be working with the Co-Creation Hub (CcHub), a Google for Startups partner and leading tech community hub with presence in Nigeria, Kenya and Rwanda, to distribute the funding to the selected companies across Africa.
Applications are now open for access to funding, as well as technical and business support, for 50 early-stage startups across the continent in 2021. BFF Africa is open to all startups in Botswana, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe, that meet the eligibility criteria. Applications will close on July 7.
Google.org’s US$3 million grant to the Tony Elumelu Foundation will go towards providing entrepreneurship training, mentorship and coaching to at least 5,000 women with low digital skills, who come from rural areas and currently operate in an informal sector. Seed capital in the form of one-time cash grants will also be provided to 500 African women aspiring entrepreneurs in Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and select Francophone countries.
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