Google has opened applications for the second cohort of the Google for Startup Black Founders Fund Africa, which will see 60 eligible black-founded startups across Africa receive a share of $4-million.
Prospective applicants have until May 31 to apply, with the winners set to be announced on July 29.
For the second cohort, Google will increase its commitment with an additional $1-million in funding and support for 10 more founders following the success of the first cohort last year.
Selected startups will receive between $50 000 and $100 000 non-dilutive cash awards and up to $200 000 per startup in Google Cloud credits, support in the form of training and access to a network of mentors to assist in tackling the challenges unique to each startup.
“The Black Founders Fund Africa demonstrates our commitment to supporting innovation in underserved areas. Black-led technology startups face an unfair venture capital funding environment and that is why we are committed to helping them thrive, grow to be better and ensure the success of communities and economies in our region,” said Google sub-Saharan Africa startup ecosystem head Folarin Aiyegbusi.
The fund will provide cash awards and hands-on support to 60 black-led startups in Africa, which Google hopes will assist in the development of affordable solutions to fundamental challenges affecting those at the base of the socioeconomic pyramid in Africa, he added.
“We are hopeful that the support received by the black founders will enable them to grow their business and, in turn, drive economic growth in Africa as they create solutions and give back to their communities.”
While the Black Founders Fund Africa is open to startups that meet the eligibility criteria in Botswana, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe, strong applications from other African countries will also be considered.
The fund provides support to startups in the region in the form of equity-free cash assistance that helps them take care of immediate needs such as paying staff, funding inventory and maintaining software licences.
The African businesses that are eligible include early-stage startups with black founders or diverse founding teams; startups which are benefiting the black community, operating and headquartered in Africa; startups with a diverse founding team with at least one black founding member; those having a legal presence on the continent and building technology solutions for Africa and the global market; and those who have growth potential to raise more funding and create jobs.