Google is to benefit women-owned startups in Kenya and across Africa via a Sh323.5 million($3 million) fund to be implemented by the Tony Elumelu Foundation.
The Google.org-backed multi-year grant to the Tony Elumelu Foundation that is part of its three-pronged startups development strategy, is aimed at providing entrepreneurship training, mentorship and coaching to at least 5,000 women as well as seed capital in the form of one-time cash grants to 500 African women aspiring entrepreneurs in Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa among other Francophone countries.
“We are dedicated to building a world where all women can thrive. According to data collected by the World Bank in 10 African countries, male-owned enterprises have six times more access to capital than female-owned enterprises. This huge capital gap is not stopping the rise of female entrepreneurs, but it slows them down and makes their journeys that much more challenging. We hope that the grant to The Elumelu Foundation will help accelerate the growth of women techmakers and entrepreneurs in Africa,” adds Nitin Gajria, Managing Director of Google Sub-Saharan Africa.
Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu, CEO at Tony Elumelu Foundation said this will enhance women’s economic participation on the continent thereby driving growth for local economies and uplifting livelihoods. “We are delighted to receive the Google.org grant for our work across Sub-Saharan Africa that will be instrumental in building much-needed women-owned businesses, hence resilient economies.
At the same time, Google has launched a new Sh323.5 million($3 million) Black Founders Fund for Africa(BFF Africa) that is targeting to benefit 50 early-stage startups from Kenya, Botswana, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe.It will be implemented by Google for Startups partner, Co-Creation Hub that has a presence in Kenya, Nigeria and Rwanda.
Bosun Tijani, Co-founder & CEO, Co-Creation Hub commented “It is encouraging to see Google’s continued commitment to strengthening and elevating the start-up ecosystem in Africa. Google was one of the early believers in tech entrepreneurs across Africa and the evolution of the support over the last 10 years reflect a thoughtful and contextualized 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.”
MD Gajria adds that Google’s commitment is to empower entrepreneurs and startups effectively enabling them to generate employment thereby boosting economic and social development on the continent.He said Google was determined to help Africa startup founders to grow their businesses via access to capital and technical resources from Google.
In its third initiative, Google for Startups Accelerator Africa class 6, Google has invited applications targeting to select 15 startups to participate in a three month online programme starting on 21 June, 2021 comprising of virtual training bootcamps, mentorship and Google product support. GFSA Africa applications will be open for a month.
The Tony Elumelu Foundation has since its inception in 2010 empowered 7,520 African entrepreneurs across 54 African countries. BFF Africa is part of Google’s global commitment to support underserved communities providing cash awards and hands-on support to Black-led startups in Africa and, unlike most startup investments, it does not require founders to give up any equity in exchange for funding.
Successful BFF applicants will access funding, technical and business support that meet the eligibility criteria. Applications will close on 7 July, 2021. Those interested in applying for the Google for Startups, Black Founders Fund Africa may find more information at goo.gle/BFFAfrica.