Google on Tuesday announced the selection of 60 eligible startups across Africa with $4 million funding to enable them to scale up their ongoing work.
The programme, called Google Black Founders Fund (BFF) for African startups, is the second phase of the global tech giant’s funding.
Folarin Aiyegbusi, Google’s Head of Startup Ecosystem, Sub-Sahara Africa, said in a statement that the startups joining the programme would receive a total of $4 million in funding.
He listed the top five countries with the most startups selected for the programme: Nigeria with 23 grantees, Kenya with 12, and Rwanda with six grantees.
Mr Aiyegbusi said South Africa had five grantees and Uganda had four grantees.
According to him, Botswana and Senegal have one selected startup each, Cameroon and Ghana both have three grantees each, while Ethiopia has two selected grantees.
‘’Each of the selected startups would receive support in the form of a six-month training programme that includes access to a network of mentors to assist in tackling challenges,’’ Mr Aiyegbusi said.
According to him, the startups will also be part of tailored workshops, support networks and community-building sessions.
Mr Aiyegbusi said the 60 grantees would also get non-dilutive awards of between $50,000 and $100,000 and up to $200,000 in Google Cloud credit.
He said that grantees, made up of 50 per cent women-led businesses, hailed from Botswana, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa and Uganda.
According to Mr Aiyegbusi, the startups specialised in sectors such as fintech, healthcare, e-commerce, logistics, agtech, education, hospitality and smart cities.
Mr Aiyegbusi said the Google for startups programme, launched in April 2012, had created over 4,600 jobs and raised more than $290 million in funding.
He added that the programme would introduce the grantees in Africa to Google’s products, connections, and best practices.
According to him, funding for the programme will be distributed through Google’s implementation partner, CcHUB.
Mr Aiyegbusi said the equity-free cash assistance would enable the startups to take care of immediate needs such as paying staff, funding inventory, and maintaining software licences.
He explained that this was to help the grantees buffer the cost of taking on debt in the early stages of their businesses, as many of them had no steady revenue streams yet.