Google unveils Sh479mn fund to support tech startups export their technologies

NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 11 –Twelve Kenyan startups are among 60 black-founded startups across Africa that will benefit from a Sh479.2 million fund to enable them to export their technologies beyond their home countries.

The firms will also benefit from a 6-month training programme which will also expose them to a pool of mentors who will help them in solving challenges that are particular to them.

During the training, they will participate in tailored workshops, support networks and community-building sessions in addition to non-dilutive awards of between Sh6million and Sh12million and up to Sh24million shillings in Google Cloud Credit.

This year’s cohort with women-led businesses accounting for 50 per cent of the grantees are from Botswana, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa and Uganda.

“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 Black Founders Fund Program will be able to bridge the gap of disproportionate funding between ex-pat startups over local and black-led companies,” said Folarin Aiyegbusi, Head of Startup Ecosystem Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).

Out of the 10 countries, Nigeria leads with twenty-three grantees selected followed by Kenya with twelve, Rwanda with six, South Africa with five and Uganda with four grantees.

Cameroon and Ghana have three grantees each, Ethiopia has two selected and Botswana and Senegal have one selected startup each.

The Google for Startups Black Founders Fund Program will introduce the 60 grantees to Google’s products, connections and best practices to help them better the products and services they have so that they can positively contribute to the economy of Africa. This is in line with the Tech giant’s commitment to empowering entrepreneurs and startups in the region as a vital prerequisite to driving employment and growth on the continent.

The Funding for Google for Startups Black Founders Fund will be channeled via Google’s implementation partner CcHUB.

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The startups from Kenya that have been selected are Ajua, online booking platform BuuPass, DohYangu, FlexPay, Keep IT Cool, Leja, Solutech, Synnefa, TIBU Health, TopUp Mama, Zanifu and Zuri Health.

Applicants who are at an early-stage startup with black founders or diverse founding teams with their headquarters in Africa are the ones eligible for the funding.

The Google Startups Program has created over 4,600 jobs and has raised more than Sh34.6billion since its launch in April 2012.