Google has rolled out three programmes worth Sh642 million ($6 million) in a bid to support women, young entrepreneurs and innovators in at least 13 African countries.

Under the first programme, will grant Sh321 million ($3 million) to the Tony Elumelu Foundation to support women-owned startups in the continent to upscale their ideas.

The tech giant says the fund will help in providing entrepreneurship training, mentorship and coaching to at least 5,000 women as well as seed capital in the form of one-time cash grants to 500 African women aspiring entrepreneurs in Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa among other Francophone countries.

“We are dedicated to building a world where all women can thrive. According to data collected by the World Bank in 10 African countries, male-owned enterprises have six times more access to capital than female-owned enterprises. This huge capital gap is not stopping the rise of female entrepreneurs, but it slows them down and makes their journeys that much more challenging. We hope that the grant to The Elumelu Foundation will help accelerate the growth of women tech makers and entrepreneurs in Africa,” said Nitin Gajria, Managing Director of Google Sub-Saharan Africa.

The fund is further backed to enhance women’s economic participation in the continent thereby driving growth for local economies and uplifting livelihoods.

“We are delighted to receive the grant for our work across Sub-Saharan Africa that will be instrumental in building much-needed women-owned businesses, hence resilient economies,” said Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu, CEO at Tony Elumelu Foundation.

Google has further launched a Kshs. 321 million ($3 million) fund dubbed Black Founders Fund for Africa (BFF Africa) which is expected to benefit 50 budding startups in Kenya, Botswana, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

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BFF Africa also aims at providing cash awards and hands-on support to black-led startups in Africa without ceding any equity stake.

The fund will be implemented by Google for Startups partner, Co-Creation Hub that has a presence in Kenya, Nigeria and Rwanda.

“It is encouraging to see Google’s continued commitment to strengthening and elevating the start-up ecosystem in Africa. Google was one of the early believers in tech entrepreneurs across Africa and the evolution of the support over the last 10 years reflect a thoughtful and contextualized commitment. This programme is extremely timely and will not only empower founders across the continent but also deepen the pipeline and unlock follow-on funding from both local and foreign investors,” said Bosun Tijani, Co-founder & CEO, Co-Creation Hub.

Under the third initiative, Google for Startups Accelerator Africa class 6 will select 15 startups to participate in a three-month online programme comprising virtual training boot camps, mentorship and Google product support.

In its third initiative, Google for Startups Accelerator Africa class 6, the tech firm has invited applications targeting to select 15 startups to participate in a three-month online programme beginning June 2021 comprising of virtual training boot camps, mentorship and Google product support.

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