Google Extends Applications For 2nd Africa Launchpad Accelerator Program To 12 More Countries

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Written by Peter Pedroncelli
Africa Launchpad Accelerator
Google’s Africa Launchpad Accelerator will be extended to 12 more countries. Photo – Flickr

Following the successful conclusion of the first Google Africa Launchpad Accelerator program, the company has opened applications for its second class of tech startups, extending it to a dozen additional African countries.

The move to extend applications to an additional 12 nations across Africa brings the total number of countries eligible to apply up to 18 countries, according to PCTechmag.

The first class of 12 startups involved six of the selected companies from Nigeria, two from Kenya, and one each from Uganda, Tanzania, Ghana and South Africa.

The dozen new countries where startups will be able to apply for the Google Africa Launchpad program include Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Cameroon, Botswana, Senegal, Ethiopia, Cote d’Ivoire, Algeria.

The first class graduated on Jun. 8 following a three-month program during which 20 teams from Google as well as 40 mentors from nine countries including the U.K. and the U.S. were involved in mentoring the startups in Lagos, Nigeria.

Among the startups that recently graduated were Ghanaian new media startup OMG Digital, known as the “BuzzFeed of Africa”, Nigeria’s Piggybank.ng, an app which enables users to reach their savings targets through a combination of discipline and flexibility, Tanzanian media streaming startup TangoTV, and South African startup swiftVEE, an online platform that connects livestock agencies to a network of buyers and sellers.

Each startup received $10 000 in an equity-free cash grant, and between them, they have raised over $7 million, according to ITNewsAfrica.

In the next three years, Google’s Launchpad Accelerator Africa program will offer $3 million in equity-free funding to over 60 startups across the continent while providing working space, travel, public relations support, and access to tech and business experts from Google, Silicon Valley, and Africa.

Applications for the second Google Launchpad Accelerator class will close on Jul. 8.

Google expanding its presence in Africa

The tech giant has been focused on supporting tech startups in Africa for some time, and this week Google announced that it will establish an artificial intelligence research center in the Ghanaian capital later this year — a first for the company on the continent, according to Quartz.

Expert machine learning researchers and engineers will work together at the new AI research center in Accra which will be dedicated to artificial intelligence research and its applications in a wider African context.

The research center will focus on using artificial intelligence applications in areas that include healthcare, agriculture and education.

With the company established with offices in Africa for the last 10 years, it was finally time to launch a research center for this exciting science on the continent, and the Ghanaian capital was chosen as Africa’s first location.

Accra will join Google’s other AI research centers based in Paris, Zurich, Tokyo, Beijing, Montreal, Toronto, Seattle, Boston, Tel Aviv, New York, and their San Francisco headquarters in furthering research into artificial intelligence.