Google has commenced its Launchpad Accelerator Africa initiative in Lagos, which targets to train 100,000 technology developers. Google equally announced developer scholarships for 15,000 developers.
Google, on Monday announced the startups who will participate in the first Google Launchpad Accelerator Africa class, at an event held in Lagos. It also announced a partnership with Udacity and Andela to provide 15 000 single course scholarships and 500 nanodegree scholarships to aspiring and professional developers across Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa.
Google had announced the first Launchpad Accelerator Africa class in November and the applications closed in December 2017. Launchpad Accelerator Africa is a programme for top early-stage African startups that will operate out of Lagos, Nigeria.
Country Director of Google Nigeria, Juliet Ehimuan, said: “Launchpad Accelerator Africa was announced at Google for Nigeria in July last year. At the time we also announced the extension of our Digital Skills for Africa program to train 10 million Africans, including 100,000 developers, over five years. The scholarships announcement forms part of that commitment.”
Over the next three years the Launchpad Accelerator Africa programme 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. Participants receive travel and PR support during each three-month program.
To qualify, startups have to be a technology startup, based in sub-Saharan Africa, targeting the African market and have already raised seed funding. Google additionally considered the problem the startup is trying to solve, how it creates value for users, and how they addressed a real challenge for their home city, country or Africa broadly.
The sub-Saharan Africa Ecosystem Regional Manager, Andy Volk, said: “We are thrilled to announce this, the first Launchpad Accelerator Africa class and look forward to working with them to drive innovation into the African market. Africa is home to some incredibly smart people who are working to solve the continent’s problems using homegrown solutions and we’re honoured to be able to be part of that.”
Google commenced the training with 12 technology startups, selected from Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Uganda, Tanzania and South Africa, where Nigeria tops the list with five out of the twelve selected startups.
Google is committed to the sub-Saharan Africa developer ecosystem and has, since April 2016, hosted 13 Launchpad Build and Start events across Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa, featuring some 228 speakers and engaging 590 attendees from local startups in each country.