Google on Thursday announced the introduction of Launchpad Accelerator aimed at boosting information technology (IT) entreprenuership in Africa.
Chief Executive Officer of Google, Sundar Pichai, said in a statement that the new hands-on comprehensive mentorship programme was tailored exclusively to IT startups based in Africa.
“This new development is in line with the commitment Google made to support African entrepreneurs earlier this year.
“Building on the success of Google’s global Launchpad Accelerator programme, this initiative will operate from a new Google Launchpad Space in Lagos (the first onsite location for the programme outside the US).
“It will provide African startups with over $3-million in equity-free support, working space and access to expert advisers from Google, Silicon Valley, and Africa over the next three years.
“Participants will also receive travel and public relations support during the three-month programme,” he said.
Pichai added that the first application period was now open through Dec. 11, 6pm (GMT) and the first class would start in early 2018.
More classes would be hosted in 2018 and beyond, he said.
According to him, applicants for the IY training programme would have to be a technology startup, be based in Sub-Saharan Africa and target the African market and have already raised seed funding.
He said that Google would additionally consider the problem the startup was trying to solve, how does it create value for users? How it would address a real challenge for ones home city, country or Africa broadly?
He equally asked if the startup would share what was learnt in Silicon Valley for the benefit of other startups in the local ecosystem?
Also Mr Andy Volk, Google Sub-Saharan Africa Ecosystem Regional Manager, said that anyone who spends time in the African technology space know that the continent was home to some exciting innovations.
“Over the years, Google has worked with some incredible startups across Africa, tackling everything from healthcare, education, streamlining e-commerce to improving the food supply chain.
“We very much look forward to welcoming the first cohort of innovators for Launchpad Africa and continue to work together to drive innovation in the African market,” he said.