Google for Startups has announced that it has opened applications for the second cohort of the Black Founders Fund for Africa. Google has increased its commitment with an additional $1m in funding for eligible startups.

For this cohort, Google for Startups is committing $4 million to 60 eligible black-founded startups across Afrika.

“The Black Founders Fund Africa demonstrates our commitment to supporting innovation in underserved areas. Black-led tech startups face an unfair venture capital funding environment and that is why we are committed to helping them thrive, grow to be better and ensure the success of communities and economies in our region. The fund will provide cash awards and hands-on support to 60 Black-led startups in Africa, which we hope will aid in developing affordable solutions to fundamental challenges affecting those at the base of the socioeconomic pyramid in Africa," said Folarin Aiyegbusi, Head of Startup Ecosystem, SSA.

Google's racial equality commitment

The Google for Startups Black Founders Fund for Africa forms part of Google's racial equality commitments. It is the company's pledge toward driving economic opportunity for Black business owners.

The program also forms part of Google's wider plan to develop Afrika's technology ecosystem which Nitin Gajria Managing Director, Google in Africa, outlined during an interview with earlier in 2022.

Gajria also explained that the growth of Afrikan startups, which raised more than $4 billion in 2021   (growing by over 2.5x in 2021), was a key factor in driving the growth of full-time employment of Afrika developers -  Afrikan startups and SMBs are responsible for hiring more than half of thea developers on the continent.

Support for Afrika's startups

The Black Founders Fund for Africa will aim to provide support to startups in the region in the form of equity-free cash assistance that helps them take care of immediate needs such as paying staff, funding inventory, and maintaining software licenses.

The following African businesses are eligible for selection for the BFF: early-stage startups with black founders or diverse founding teams,  startups that are benefiting the black community, operating and headquartered in Africa, startups with a diverse founding team with at least one black founding member; those having a legal presence on the continent and building technology solutions for Afrika and the global market; and those who have the growth potential to raise more funding and create jobs.

“We are hopeful that the support received by the black founders will enable them to grow their business and in turn drive economic growth in Africa as they create solutions and give back to their communities," concluded Aiyegusi.

— By Tefo Mohapi

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