Google has unveiled its latest initiative, the “Google for Startups Accelerator: AI First,” designed to provide support to African startups seeking to leverage artificial intelligence (AI) to address local challenges. This announcement underlines the pivotal role that AI is playing on a global scale, revolutionising industries and expanding the horizons of what is possible. Moreover, it acknowledges the significant contributions of African startups in tackling some of the most pressing issues in the region by harnessing the potential of AI.
The central focus of the “AI First” program is to offer comprehensive support to startups that are eager to explore the vast potential of AI. This program builds upon the lessons learned from previous initiatives, including the Google for Startups Accelerator: Africa, the Google for Startups Black Founders Fund, and the Google for Startups Accelerator: Women Founders. While the contexts might differ, the core objective remains unwavering: to provide unwavering backing to and spotlight African-led solutions.
Startups at various stages, up to the series A stage, located in Africa or developing solutions that cater specifically to Africa through AI and machine learning, are encouraged to apply for this 10-week accelerator. Participants stand to gain access to Google’s profound AI expertise, valuable technical resources, which include up to $350,000 in Google Cloud Credits, guidance from experienced AI professionals, and unparalleled networking prospects.
Folarin Aiyegbusi, the Head of Startup Ecosystem, Africa, articulated his thoughts on this ground-breaking initiative, stating, “Africa’s tech landscape is vibrant and ever-evolving. It’s inspiring to see African startups not only harnessing AI to address our unique challenges but also setting benchmarks for the world. ‘AI First’ is more than a program; it’s a testament to our belief in the vision of these startups, ensuring they have the support and guidance they need to realise their full potential.”
The Google for Startups Accelerator: Africa program was first established in 2018 and has since then provided support to 106 startups hailing from 17 African countries. This collective effort has led to a remarkable achievement — the startups have successfully secured over $263 million in funding and, even more significantly, generated more than 2,800 direct job opportunities within the region.
Important information about Google AI First Accelerator Program for African Startups
- Eligibility: Open to startups up to series A stage in Africa or creating Africa-centric AI solutions.
- Application Deadline: September 6, 2023.
- Access Online: Visit g.co/acceleratorafrica.
- Application Submission: Complete and submit application via the provided online platform.
- Program Benefits: Equity-free accelerator, Google’s AI expertise, technical resources (up to $350k Google Cloud Credits).
- Mentorship: Guidance from seasoned AI professionals.
- Networking: Valuable networking opportunities within the tech ecosystem.
- Supportive Environment: Reflects Google’s belief in the potential of African startups.