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Google earmarks $4m investment fund for 60 African start-up businesses

By Esther Kalu

Google has disclosed plans to invest $4 million in 60 eligible African-founded start-up businesses during the second session of its Start-up Black Founders Fund (BFF).

The start-up businesses would be picked from 13 African countries including Nigeria, Botswana, Cameroun, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.

The tech company said that the 13 countries were considered the prime focus due to their active tech and start-up ecosystems over the years and that the initiative is aimed at driving economic opportunities for Black business owners. 

Meanwhile, it stated that strong applications from other African countries not among the 13 nations would be considered along the way.

According to Google, selected start-ups will receive between $50,000 and $100,000 in non-dilutive cash awards and up to $200,000 per start-up in Google Cloud credits.

The Google’s Head of Start-up Ecosystem, Africa,  Folarin Aiyegbusi, in a statement released on Tuesday, announced the opening of applications for Google for Start-up Black Founders Fund for Africa.

Aiyegbusi said that following the success of the first cohort in 2021, Google increased its commitment in 2022 with additional one million dollars in funding, and support for 10 more founders.

According to him, the Black Founders Fund Africa demonstrates Google’s commitment to supporting innovations in underserved areas.

He said: ‘’Black-led tech start-ups face an unfair venture capital funding environment; that is why we are committed to helping them thrive to be better and ensure the success of communities and economies in our region.

‘’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.”

The Google personnel expressed optimism that the support received by the Black founders will enable them to grow their businesses and, in turn, drive economic growth in Africa as they create solutions and give back to their communities.

Aiyegbusi said that support in the form of training and access to a network of mentors to assist in tackling challenges unique to each start-up would be provided.

He further disclosed that the application for the fund would close on May 31, 2022 while winners will be announced on July 29, 2022.

As gathered, Google for Start-ups Black Founders Fund was launched in the wake of the 2020 Black Lives Matter movement as part of Google’s racial equality commitment.

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