Google announces first startup accelerator for African women

  • The first Google for Startups Accelerator: Women Founders Africa Program will begin in March.
  • The program will span 12 weeks and provide a range of opportunities to participants.
  • Applications require a written submission as well as an interview and will close 20th February 2023.

As Google continues to invest in digital transformation in Africa, the big tech firm just announced a new initiative aimed at women-led startups on the continent.

The Google for Startups Accelerator: Women Founders Africa Program will begin in March and run over the course of 12 weeks. During this time, selected participants will receive access to Google products, mentoring, resources, tools and technology. In addition, the program will provide networking opportunities and the chance to meet investors.

Each month a bootcamp will be held in a hybrid style of both online and in-person sessions.

In order to be eligible for the accelerator applicants must have a working product or service, a viable business model and a working team. The application process includes a written application as well as an interview with the program team. Needless to say, eligible applicants must also have a woman founder.

The application process can be started here and all applications must be submitted by 20th February.

“We are excited about the open call for applications for our 3-month accelerator program, specifically tailored to address the unique challenges faced by women founders in Africa. We believe that investing in women founders in Africa is critical for economic empowerment that will enable the creation of jobs for the growing African youth population,” head of the Startup Ecosystem in Africa for Google, Folarin Aiyegbusi said in a statement.

Women-led businesses on the African continent struggle to access funding as per the 2022 Lionesses Business Confidence Report and Index.

The report reveals that while women-led businesses are confident that they will be better off in 2023 – as many as 93 percent of those surveyed said as much – access to funding is hard to come by as financial institutions see these businesses as a risk.

“Two-thirds of the Lionesses anticipate looking for external financing soon but only half perceive financial institutions willing to provide the loans or credit they will need. However, this represents a larger percentage than in 2021, suggesting modest but growing confidence in securing funds from financial institutions, and that is a trend in the right direction,” founder and chief executive officer of Lionesses of Africa, Melanie Hawken said.

One of the mentors in the Google for Startups Accelerator: Women Founders Africa Program is Akua Nyame-Mensah.

“It’s an honor to be a mentor in the inaugural Google for Startups Accelerator Program for Women Founders. As part of supporting the next generation of leaders in Africa, this program offers women an opportunity to grow their networks and the accountability to achieve their professional goals. The focus on mentorship will be invaluable. Participants will benefit and grow from the exchange of ideas and experiences,” Nyame-Mensah said in a statement.

The Google for Startups Accelerator: Women Founders Africa Program is the latest in a long line of accelerators Google has been running on the African continent since 2017.

[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]


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