Google has announced that applications for the second cohort of the Google for Startup Black Founders Fund for Africa are now open.
Google reiterated that 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 toward driving economic opportunity for Black business owners, it added.
“The BFF provides support to start-ups in the region in the form of equity-free cash assistance that helps them take care of immediate needs such as paying staff, funding inventory, and maintaining software licenses,” the company explained.
Google has added a further US$1-million in funding and committed itself to support ten more founders this year.
This will result in a commitment of US$4-million to 60 eligible black-founded start-ups across Africa, the company stated,
The Black Founders Fund Africa is open to start-ups that meet the eligibility criteria in 13 African countries, including Botswana, Cameroun, Côte D’ivoire, Ghana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
Google said that while these thirteen countries are the prime focus due to their active tech and start-up ecosystems, “strong applications from other African countries will also be considered.”
According to Google, eligible applicants include early-stage start-ups with black founders or diverse founding teams, start-ups which are benefiting the black community, operating and headquartered in Africa, start-ups with a diverse founding team with at least one black founding member; those having a legal presence on the continent and building technology solutions for Africa and the global market; and those who have growth potential to raise more funding and create jobs.
A statement from the company reads, “Selected start-ups will receive between $50,000 and $100,000 non-dilutive cash awards 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. Applications will close on 31 May 2022 and the winners will be announced on 29 July 2022.”
Folarin Aiyegbusi, Head of Startup Ecosystem, SSA, said, “The Black Founders Fund Africa demonstrates our commitment to supporting innovation in underserved areas. Black-led tech start-ups face an unfair venture capital funding environment and that is why we are committed to helping them thrive, grow to be better and ensure the success of communities and economies in our region. The fund will provide cash awards and hands-on support to 60 Black-led startups in Africa, which we hope will aid in developing affordable solutions to fundamental challenges affecting those at the base of the socioeconomic pyramid in Africa.”
“We are hopeful that the support received by the black founders will enable them to grow their business and in turn drive economic growth in Africa as they create solutions and give back to their communities”, Aiyegusi concluded.