22nd June, 2021
By Stellamaris Ashinze/Lagos
Google on Monday renewed its commitment to support Africa with $6m for startup founders and female entrepreneurs.
Nitin Gajria, Managing Director of Google Sub-Saharan Africa, said on Monday in statement that It was part of the ongoing plans to double down on supporting Black startup founders.
Gajra said that the programme, in collaboration with the Tony Elumelu foundation, would provide seed capital to 500 women entrepreneurs in Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya and selected Francophone countries.
He said it would prepare them to navigate their businesses through the start-up and early growth phase.
According to Gajra, as part of Google’s global commitment to support underserved communities, three million dollars was earmarked for Startups Black Founders Fund Africa.
‘’This fund, which is part of the company’s radical equity commitments announced in June 2020, will provide cash awards and hands-on support to 50 Black-led startups in Africa.
‘’Unlike most startup investments, it does not require founders to give up any equity in exchange for funding.
‘’Google will be working with the Co-Creation Hub, a Google for Startups partner and leading tech community hub with presence in Nigeria, Kenya and Rwanda, to distribute the funding to the selected companies across Africa.
“We are to help black founders grow their businesses, not just through access to capital but also through access to the best of Google’s resources.
“We are dedicated to building a world where all women can thrive.
“A data collected by the World Bank in 10 African countries revealed that male-owned enterprises have six times more 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 support to the Tony Elumelu Foundation will help accelerate the growth of women techmakers and entrepreneurs in Africa,” Gajria said.
Bosun Tijani, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer at Co-Creation Hub, said it was encouraging to see Google’s continued dedication to strengthening and elevating the startup ecosystem in Africa.
Tijani said that Google was one of the early believers in tech entrepreneurs on the continent and its support over the last 10 years reflects a thoughtful commitment.
He said that the programme was extremely timely and would not only empower founders across the continent but also deepen the pipeline and unlock follow-on funding from both local and foreign investors.
According to him, Google understands that the growth and success of one player in the startup space lays the path for others.
Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu, CEO at Tony Elumelu Foundation, said that as Africa’s leading philanthropy empowering young African entrepreneurs, the grant support would provide financial and technical support for additional women-owned businesses and marginalised groups in the informal sector.
She said that there was no better time to invest in women’s economic participation on the continent than now.
According to her, through this support, women will drive growth for local economies and enable better living conditions for their communities.