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African start-ups chosen to scale with share of US$4m

Google has announced that sixty eligible black-founded start-ups across Africa have been selected for the second cohort of Google for Startups Black Founders Fund (BFF) for Africa.

The company said the start-ups joining the program will receive a total of US$4-million in funding and support to enable them to scale up their ongoing work. They will also receive support in the form of a six-month training programme, including a network of mentors.

“They will also be part of tailored workshops, support networks and community building sessions. The 60 grantees will also get non-dilutive awards of between $50,000 and $100,000 and up to $200,000 in Google Cloud credit,” reads part of a statement released by Google.

The grantees, made up of 50% women-led businesses, hail from Botswana, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa and Uganda. They specialise in sectors such as Fintech, healthcare, e-commerce, logistics, agtech, education, hospitality and smart cities.

The top five countries with the most start-ups selected for the program are Nigeria with twenty-three grantees, Kenya with twelve grantees, Rwanda with six grantees, South Africa with five grantees and Uganda with four grantees. Botswana and Senegal have one selected start-up each, Cameroon and Ghana both have three grantees each, while Ethiopia has two selected grantees.

Folarin Aiyegbusi, Head of Startup Ecosystem, SSA, said, “Africa is a diverse continent with massive opportunity but the continent is faced with the challenge of limited diversity in venture capital funding flow. We hope that the Black Founders Fund program will be able to bridge the gap of disproportionate funding between expat start-ups over local and black-led companies.”

Google stated that this program, launched in April 2012, has created over 4,600 jobs and raised more than US$290-million in funding.

The Google for Startups Black Founders Fund program will introduce the grantees in Africa to Google's products, connections, and best practices which will help the founders to level the playing field as they build better products and services that add value to the Africa economy.

Funding for the Google for Startup Black Founders Fund will be distributed through Google’s implementation partner, CcHUB.

“The equity-free cash assistance to start-ups will enable them to take care of immediate needs such as paying staff, funding inventory, and maintaining software licences. This is to help the grantees buffer the cost of taking on debt in the early stages of their business as many of them do not have steady revenue streams yet”, Aiyegbusi added.

The sixty start-ups selected include: Ajua (Kenya); Bookings Africa (Nigeria), Built (Ghana), Cauri Money (Senegal), Easy Matatu (Uganda), Garri Logistics (Ethiopia), PesaChoice (Rwanda) and Stears (Nigeria).

Start-ups from South Africa include Agrikool, CreditAIs, Mapha , Rekisa and Technovera.

In June this year, blockchain-based MNO World Mobile released the findings of research which suggests that African business leaders predict a boom in start-up businesses across the continent.

The study, based on engagement with African business leaders from companies with combined annual revenues of more than US$6.75-billion, also found that nearly seven out of 10 (69%) of senior African business executives believe that will more than double in the next five years.

Introducing its research, World Mobile referenced fDiIntelligence.com which states that before the pandemic, around 22% of working age adults in Africa started new businesses.

But World Mobile’s research among senior executives based in Angola, Botswana, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, and Tanzania, found they expect that number to grow.

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