Google bolsters commitment to start-ups in Nigeria, others


Technology giant, Google, has restated its commitment to the start-up ecosystem in Nigeria and other parts of Africa. It disclosed this yesterday at the opening of applications for the 6th Class of the Google for Start-ups Accelerator programme, and the launch of new developer scholarships in partnership with Pluralsight and Andela.

At the virtual event, Google hosted key industry players, policy leads, start-up executives and investors driving the growth of Africa’s tech ecosystem.

The industry players reviewed opportunities unfolding throughout the internet economy, with special attention to the support of developers and start-ups in the region.

Applications for the three-month programme that is slated to start on June 21, 2021, will be open until May 14. The online programme, which includes three intensive virtual training boot camps, mentorship and Google product support, is open to applications from 17 countries across Africa, including Nigeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Senegal. South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda and Zimbabwe. The aim is to support the growth of the start-ups through their crucial growth phases.

For Google’s new developer scholarships, Android, Web and Google Cloud scholarships are being offered to beginner and intermediate developers resident in Africa. A total of 40,000 scholarships will be offered to developers across mobile and cloud development tracks.

The top 1,000 students at the end of the training will earn a full scholarship to certify on Android or Cloud development. Head of Google for Startups Accelerator Africa, Onajite Emerhor, said: “Last year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the first virtual class of Google for Start-ups Accelerator Africa was launched. It was the first all-online iteration of Google’s accelerator programme for Africa, and saw 20 start-ups from seven countries to undergo a 12-week virtual journey to redefine their offering, while receiving mentoring and attending workshops. This year, with the 6th cohort, we want to continue to play our part by supporting developers and start-ups within the Africa tech ecosystem, ensuring they get all the access and support necessary to see them continue to grow.”

The African start-up ecosystem is a key driver of economic growth on the continent, with Africa’s tech space experiencing a significant upswing in start-up success stories.

According to the Africa Internet Economy 2020 report, sponsored by Google and IFC, Africa’s Internet economy is poised to boost the continent’s economy by 5.25 per cent in the next five years.

The report stated that the headwinds caused by COVID-19 will not deter the growth of Africa’s internet economy, which is projected to contribute nearly $189 billion to Africa’s GDP by 2025, increasing to $712 billion by 2050.

Managing Director of Google Sub-Saharan Africa, Nitin Gajria, said the growth of entrepreneurship is crucial, especially in the African context.

Gajira said African developers and startups play a critical role in the transformation of the African economy, creating new opportunities and paving the way for the economic and social development on the continent that we want to see.

“We recognise Africa’s exceptional digital potential, and that is why Google is committed to providing this critical support for African startups,” Gajira stated.

Google for Startups Accelerator Africa gives early-growth stage startups access to the best of Google – its people, networks, and advanced technologies. The accelerator trains participating startups on technology (AI/ML, Cloud, Android, Firebase), product, data, business, design, people, growth and fundraising, through interactive workshops and labs facilitated by Google experts and mentors.