Having kicked off in Lagos, Nigeria, around August this year, Google hosted Class 2 of its accelerator program, Google Launchpad Accelerator Africa, in Johannesburg, South Africa, yesterday.
Google Launchpad Accelerator Africa is a global mentoring program that supports African startups in the area of building and scaling their products. This it does by granting these startups access to the peoples, networks, advanced technologies of Google, amongst other perks.
According to Fola Olatunji-David, Head of Startup Success and Services, the Launchpad program is intended as a business move and not a CSR project. With regards to the development, Fola can be further quoted as saying; “We believe that Google as an organization thrives when other organizations in the ecosystem thrive. We believe Google thrives when more people are on the internet, making an earning and learning how to build their businesses. The businesses selected as part of the program are businesses we believe can make a huge impact on their societies in the next few years. They will be able to influence their communities and more people will benefit.”
Applications for Google Launchpad Accelerator Africa Class 2 was opened in June this year. In the latest cohort of the program, the company expanded its offerings to cater for applications from a further 11 African countries including Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Cameroon, Botswana, Senegal, Ethiopia, and Cote d’Ivoire. This represents a significant growth from the six countries — Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda — who were the only countries featured in the first cohort of the program. This can be construed to imply that Google now accepts applications from startups in 17 African countries.
As part of the benefits that come with participating in the program, the startups are entitled to a three-month-long intensive mentorship and support from Google, cloud and firebase credits, three-week all-expense-paid trip to the Launchpad Accelerator in Lagos and Johannesburg, access to Google’s network of people and resources, as well as inclusion in the global community of networks, alumni, and mentors of the Launchpad Accelerator.
As part of qualification requirements, the Launchpad accelerator targets early-stage technology startups that are based in Sub-Saharan Africa, whose products are found to be suited to the needs of the African market. Having already raised seed-funding is another requirement that must be satisfied by startups who intend to participate in the program. Other aspects such as value added, problems solved, and challenges addressed by the startups in their immediate communities are also believed to have been taken into consideration.
In June this year, 12 startups drawn out from a total of six African graduated from the inaugural Google Launchpad Accelerator Africa. Preparations for the second cohort kicked off barely two months after with 11 African startups unveiled at Google’s Lagos facility in August — a development that was covered in an earlier publication by WeeTracker.
Amongst the startups selected in the second class of Google Launchpad Accelerator Africa are AppZone, Chalkboard Education, Cloud9xp, EzyAgric, Formplus, Medsaf, Mintrics, PayGo Energy, Pineapple, Preeva, and Thank U Cash.
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