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Africa’s startups ecosystem: Google to offer 40,000 scholarship



Africa’s startups ecosystem: Google to offer 40,000 scholarship

By Stellamaris Ashinze

Google on Thursday restated its commitment to the startup ecosystem in Africa, by offering a total of 40,000 scholarships  to developers, spread across Mobile and Cloud development tracks.

The announcement was made during a virtual event hosted by Google for key industry players, policy leads, startup executives and investors driving the growth of Africa’s tech ecosystem.

Onajite Emerhor, Head of Google for Startups Accelerator Africa, said that the top 1,000 students at the end of the training would earn full scholarship to certify on Android or Cloud development.

Emerhor, announcing the opening of applications for the 6th Class of the Google for Startups Accelerator programme, and the launch of new developer scholarships, said it was in partnership with Pluralsight and Andela.

She said that the the aim of the scholarship  was to support the growth of the startups through their crucial growth phases.

According to her, for Google’s new developer scholarships, Android, Web and Google Cloud scholarships are being offered to beginners and intermediate developers resident in Africa.

“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 6th cohort, we want to continue to play our part by supporting developers and startups within the Africa tech ecosystem, ensuring they get all the access and support necessary to see them continue to grow,’’ she said.

According to her, the African startups ecosystem is a key driver of economic growth on the continent, with Africa’s tech space experiencing a significant upswing in startup success stories.

Emerhor said that the Africa Internet Economy 2020 report, sponsored by Google and IFC, Africa’s Internet economy was poised to boosting the continent’s economy by 5.25 per cent  in the next five years.

She said that  the report stated that the headwinds caused by COVID-19 would not deter the growth of Africa’s internet economy, which was projected to contribute nearly $189 billion to Africa’s GDP by 2025, increasing to $712 billion by 2050.

Also, Nitin Gajria, Managing Director  of Google Sub-Saharan Africa, said the growth of entrepreneurship was crucial, especially in the African context.

Gajria said that African developers and startups played a critical role in the transformation of the African economy, creating new opportunities and paving the way for the economic and social development on the continent.

“We recognise Africa’s exceptional digital potential, and that is why Google is committed to providing this critical support for African startups,.

Google for Startups Accelerator Africa gives early-growth stage startups access to the best of Google – its people, networks, and advanced technologies.”

Gajria said that  the accelerator trained participating startups on technology (AI/ML, Cloud, Android, Firebase), product, data, business, design, people, growth and fundraising, through interactive workshops and labs facilitated by Google experts and mentors.

“Google continues to support developer communities across Sub-Saharan Africa, through Google Developer GroupsDeveloper Student Clubs and Women Techmakers, providing training and support for developers that is aligned with real-life job competency requirements.

“Community groups engage in activities like Study Jams: study groups facilitated by developers, for developers.

“’Today there are over 120 active developer communities across 25 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa,’’ he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria  (NAN) reports that applications for the 6th Cohort of Google for Startups Accelerator programme, a three-month programme, is billed to begin on June 21, 2021, and will remain open until May 14, 2021.

The online programme  includes three intensive virtual training bootcamps, mentorship and Google product support.

NAN also reports that it is open to applications from 17 countries across Africa, including Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda and Zimbabwe. (NAN)


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