- Commits $3m to BFF Africa
- Partners Tony Elumelu Foundation to deliver $3m grant to 500 women entrepreneurs
Committed to growing Africa’s startup ecosystem, Google has opened three programmes, namely, Google for Startups Accelerator (GFSA) Africa, Google for Startups Black Founders Fund (BFF) for Africa, and Google.org grants to startups founders and female entrepreneurs in Africa as part of ongoing plans to double down on supporting black startup founders.
While the GFSA Africa represents the sixth class opened earlier this year and makes way for 15 startups from across the continent to join the class which commenced on 21 June, 2021, the three-month online programme, which includes virtual training bootcamps, mentorship and Google product support, is designed to support these emerging businesses through their early growth phases.
In addition, as part of its global commitment to support underserved communities, Google is launching a new $3 million Google for Startups Black Founders Fund Africa. The fund will provide cash awards and hands-on support to 50 Black-led startups in Africa as part of the company’s racial equity commitment announced in June 2020. However, unlike most startups, it does not require founders to give up any equity in exchange for funding. To facilitate this, Google will be working 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 selected companies across Africa.
Furthermore, a Google.org’s $3 million grant support to the Tony Elumelu Foundation will be invested into 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 while 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 so as to prepare women founders who wouldn’t have access to the opportunity to navigate their businesses through the startup journey.
Bosun Tijani, co-founder and CEO at Co-Creation Hub, commenting on the development said, “It’s encouraging to see Google’s continued dedication to strengthening and elevating the startup ecosystem in Africa. Google was one of the early believers in tech entrepreneurs on the continent and this support over the last 10 years reflects a thoughtful commitment. This programme is extremely timely and will not only empower founders across the continent but also deepen the pipeline and unlock follow-on funding from both local and foreign investors,”
Nitin Gajria, managing director of Google sub-Saharan Africa added, “Google understands that the growth and success of one player in the startup space lays the path for others. This is what drives the commitment to empowering entrepreneurs and startups and effectively driving employment and enabling both economic and social development on the continent. We are determined to help black founders grow their businesses, not just through access to capital but also through access to the best of Google’s resources.”
On the grant, Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu, CEO of Tony Elumelu Foundation said, “As Africa’s leading philanthropy empowering young African entrepreneurs, this grant support will provide financial and technical support for additional women-owned businesses and marginalized groups in the informal sector through the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme. There is no better time to invest in women’s economic participation on the continent than now. Through this support, women will drive growth for local economies and enable better living conditions for their communities. We are delighted to disburse the Google.org grant to scale our ongoing efforts to empower young African entrepreneurs as we believe this will be instrumental in building much-needed businesses and resilient economies,”