How 50 African startups receives free funding, Google to invest $1 billion in Africa

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By Damilare Adams

An indept look into Google’s $1billion investment in African Startups.

Global Tech giant, Google at the first ever Google for Africa event announced it would invest up to $1billion into the african tech ecosystem over 5 years to support and boost digital growth in Africa.

At the virtual event, the CEO of Google and Alphabet, Sundar Pitchai made the announcement to land another subsea broadband cable, Equiano which is expected to run across Nigeria, South Africa, and other four African countries and connect these countries to Europe.

Google is building the infrastructure for the underwater cable which Will allow faster internet speeds and lower connectivity costs.

Google also announced that $50 million would be separated to focus on enabling fast, affordable internet access for more Africans; building helpful products; supporting entrepreneurship and small businesses; and helping nonprofits to improve lives across Africa.

“We’ve made huge strides together over the past decade — but there’s more work to do to make the internet accessible, affordable and useful for every African.” Sundar Pichai said.

How Google’s investment fund will be distributed:

  • Black Founders Fund
  • Funding non-profit
  • Low-interest loan

1. Black Founders Fund: Google announced the launch of its African Development Fund. The Google funding is said to bolster entrepreneurship and innovation through a $50 million startup investment fund and a $3 million black founders fund. The fund will involve 50 early-stage african Startups and provide them with support to grow.

2. Funding non-profit: funding will strengthen its support to non-profits doing great work in Africa. It says it will provide a $3million grant funding to 10 cities in 5 countries across Africa. It will also provide another $40million to help more partner organisations

3. Low-interest loan: Google is partnering with kiva, a non-profits organisation to provide a $10million low-interest loans to help SMEs in Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa recover from the economic hardship of COVID-19.

Earlier in 2021, a report said that search engine giant, Google is planning an equity-free funding worth $3 million for startups through its Black Founders Fund Africa.

The fund was part of Google’s racial equity commitment. According to Google, the fund was meant to assist early-stage black founded startups especially in Africa so as to cover up for the lack of access to funding that black-owned businesses experience and to tap into the vast opportunity in the african Startup ecosystem. For this year’s selection, 50 startups were selected as beneficiary of the funding from Google.

These African Startups would have access to financial investment, Google ad grants and cloud credit as well technical support from expert teams at Google. The Search Engine Company is also partnering with a leading tech community hub, Co-Creation Hub (CcHub) which has presence in countries like Nigeria, Kenya, Rwanda to help distribute the funding to selected Startups across Africa.

Expectedly, Nigeria took the biggest chunk out of the cake, twenty-seven out of the selected african Startups that received funding are from Nigeria. The Nigerian startups includes:

Bumpa (retail-tech), Curacel (Fintech), Babymigo (e-tech), Chekkit (e-health), CredPal (Fintech), Treepz (transport), Shopa (retail-tech), Crop2Cash (Agric-tech), Emergency Response Africa (e-health), Formplus (data collection), Gradely (ed-tech), GeroCare (e-health), Gricd (energy), Hitch (ed-tech), mDoc (e-health), imaliPay (Fintech), Lifestores (e-health), Pickmeup (transport) My-Medicine (e-health), Reach (Fintech), Send (Fintech), Medsaf (e-health), Shecluded (fintech), Tix Africa (events), TradeBuza (fintech), Touch and Pay (Fintech) and Whispa (e-health),

Eight are from Kenya – Raise (fintech), WorkPay (HR), Amitruck (logistics), Angaza Elimu (ed-tech), AquaRech (agri-tech), Finplus (fintech), MarketForce (retail-tech) and Pezesha (fintech)

Another six from South Africa: Whoosh (fintech), Akiba Digital (fintech), Khula! (agri-tech), Kudoti (waste management), Oyi (e-health) and Pineapple (fintech).

Three from Ghana: Grow For Me (agri-tech), Tendo (retail-tech), WayaMoney (fintech). And two from Rwanda (AC Group, logistics; and Bongalo, travel). The list is completed by Senegalese logistics platform Paps, Cameroonian e-health startup Infiuss Health, Zambian fintech Lupiya, and Ethiopian home services platform Taskmoby.

One of the lucky beneficiaries said….

“A number of these enablers are Google technologies and beyond the funding, cloud and marketing resources we are receiving from Google, we look forward to collaborating closely with their talented creators to push the boundaries of what these technologies can do on the continent when applied in novel ways.”

“Our mission is to put more money in women’s hands and adopting more advanced technology will allow us to reach more women. We are super excited about this grant, as well as the mentorship and support that comes with it. We look forward to all the meaningful impact it will make for the Femtech,” said Ifeoma Uddoh, founder and CEO of Shecluded.

“At Shecluded, we are seeing firsthand the urgent need for women to easily access key financial growth services. We believe that an advanced technology platform will go a long way to improve our ability to reach and provide these important resources to more women across more regions/locations.

Since 2017, Google has trained 10 million young Africans and businesses in digital skills across 25 African countries. Google has also supported more than 50 non-profits across Africa with over $16 million of grants and enabled 100 million more Africans to access internet services for the first time through Android

In conclusion, Google claims that its $1billion investment in Africa would lead to a 21 per cent reduction in Internet prices, increase Internet speeds, and help create 1.7 million jobs in Nigeria and South Africa by 2025.

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