BY: ITWeb, Staff Writer.

Black start-up founders in Africa, who have developed technology-based products or services in the early or growth phase, can now apply for the third edition of Google’s Start-ups Black Founders Fund.

According to Google, the programme provides access to capital and the resources necessary to help small businesses scale and drive positive impact in their communities.

The five start-ups that qualify to join the initiative will receive a total of $4 million (R73 million) in funding and support, to enable them to scale up their ongoing work, it says.

The fund was launched in the wake of the 2020 Black Lives Matter movement, as part of Google’s racial equality commitments. The initiative is a pledge by the company towards driving economic opportunity for black business owners.

In 2021, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said the company will invest $1 billion over a period of five years to support digital transformation in Africa.

Start-ups operating and headquartered in Africa, or those with a legal presence on the continent, are eligible to apply for the Black Founders Fund.

The businesses should benefit the black community, or be early-stage start-ups with black founders or diverse founding teams.

The start-ups should be building for Africa and the global market, have growth potential to raise more funding, create jobs and make a measurable impact on the continent.

Says Folarin Aiyegbusi, head of Start-up Ecosystem at Google Sub-Saharan Africa: “Start-ups are a critical driver of innovation, economic growth and social progress, especially in Africa.

“The support the selected start-ups will receive will go a long way to unlock the potential and promote growth in the African tech ecosystem and the next generation of African tech entrepreneurs. We encourage all eligible start-ups to apply.”

Following the successful completion of two cohorts of the Black Founders Fund, Google notes the programme has supported a total of 110 black-owned start-ups across Africa. Sixty growth-stage start-ups were selected and supported through the programme last year in Africa.

Upon selection, the start-ups will each receive up to $150 000 (R2.7 million) equity-free cash funding and up to $200 000 per start-up in Google Cloud credits, support in the form of training, and access to a network of mentors to assist in tackling the challenges unique to each start-up.

Africa has a growing young population, with one in three Africans estimated to be under the age of 35 by 2050.

According to Google, the continent presents a huge opportunity for start-ups to provide innovative solutions for the growing market. By funding black founders, Google says it is promoting job creation and wealth generation on the continent.

Interested start-ups can apply for the 2023 Black Founders Fund for Start-ups on the Google website.

Applications for the third cohort close on 26 March.


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