Google’s Emerging Markets Startup Accelerator Expands To More African Countries

By Peter Pedroncelli Published: September 7, 2017, 6:02 am
Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced the availability of YouTube Go for Nigerians during his visit to the country. Photo - TechDemiGoogle CEO Sundar Pichai announced the availability of YouTube Go for Nigerians during his visit to the country. Photo - TechDemi

Google’s emerging markets startup accelerator, Launchpad, has expanded to seven additional African countries from the original three eligible for the program since May of this year.

This means that growth stage startups in Algeria, Egypt, Ghana, Morocco, Tanzania, Tunisia, and Uganda can now apply to be part of the accelerator program, according to Techcabal.

Previously the only three African countries considered for applications were South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria.

The seed-stage startup accelerator is a six-month zero-equity program that assists startups to leverage Google’s latest technologies in order to scale their businesses through mentoring.

Startups that are selected to take part in Google Launchpad initiative are invited to the Google Developers Launchpad Space in San Francisco for two weeks of all-expenses-paid training and mentorship from over 20 Google teams and other top mentors from Silicon Valley tech companies, according to VentureBurn.

Upon making the announcement, a Google statement revealed the companies aim to work with more startups and developers in Africa and other emerging markets.

“Launchpad Accelerator gives us an opportunity to work with and empower amazing developers, who are solving major challenges all around the world – whether it’s streamlining digital commerce across Africa, providing access to multimedia tools that support special needs education, or using AI to simplify business operations,” the Google statement said, CFO reports.

“That’s why we’re doubling down on our efforts and opening up applications for the next class of the programme to more countries for the first time,” Google added.

Africans already benefiting from Google’s startup accelerator

Due to the expanded scope that the Google Launchpad startup accelerator will now have, the American tech giant is looking to hire a head of operations for the accelerator in Africa, to be based in Nigeria, according to Google.

JUMO, a financial services platform for emerging markets, was the first South African startup to be selected by Google for its Launchpad accelerator earlier in the year, according to ITNewsAfrica.

Operating in six African countries, with a particularly significant presence in Tanzania, Kenya and Zambia, the fintech startup analyzes user data collected from mobile phones and networks to predict whether a person is able to repay a loan, offering tailored financial products based on that analysis.

As a result a number of leaders within the company benefited from a two-week boot camp at Google’s headquarters in California between July 17 and 28, with six months ongoing support and mentorship, as well as $50,000 in funding allocated to the startup.

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