By Chinenye Anuforo
Google has restated its commitment to the startup ecosystem in Africa, announcing the opening of applications for the sixth class of the Google for Startups Accelerator programme and the launch of new developer scholarships in partnership with Pluralsight and Andela.
The announcements were made during a virtual event at which Google hosted key industry players, policy leads, startup executives and investors driving the growth of Africa’s tech ecosystem. They reviewed opportunities unfolding throughout the Internet economy, paying special attention to the support of developers and startups in the region.
Applications for the sixth cohort of Google for Startups Accelerator, a three-month programme that is slated to start on June 21, 2021, will be open until May 14. The online programme, which includes three intensive virtual training boot camps, mentorship and Google product support, is open to applications from 17 countries across Africa, including Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda and Zimbabwe. The aim is to support the growth of startups through their crucial growth phases.
For Google’s new developer scholarships, Android, Web and Google Cloud scholarships are being offered to beginner and intermediate developers resident in Africa. A total of 40,000 scholarships will be offered to developers, spread across mobile and cloud development tracks. The top 1,000 students at the end of the training will earn a full scholarship to certify on Android or Cloud development.
“Last year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the first virtual class of Google for Startups Accelerator Africa was launched. It was the first all-online iteration of Google’s accelerator programme for Africa, and saw 20 startups from seven countries undergo a 12-week virtual journey to redefine their offering, while receiving mentoring and attending workshops. This year, with the sixth cohort, we want to continue to play our part by supporting developers and startups within the African tech ecosystem, ensuring they get all the access and support necessary to see them continue to grow,” said Onajite Emerhor, head of Google for Startups Accelerator Africa.
The African startup ecosystem is a key driver of economic growth on the continent, with Africa’s tech space experiencing a significant upswing in startup success stories. According to the Africa Internet Economy 2020 report, sponsored by Google and IFC, Africa’s Internet economy is poised to boost the continent’s economy by 5.25 per cent in the next five years.