When it is not in the ad business, Google likes to diversify its trade by supporting entrepreneurship across different parts of the world. This development has gone on for some time, and one of the search giant’s projects is the Launchpad Accelerator that is staged across different regions. The African version of the accelerator saw its second instalment go live yesterday in three African cities: Nairobi, Johannesburg and Lagos.
Google argues that the accelerator, which is headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria has proved impactful based on what the project has achieved so far. The first Launchpad Accelerator Africa saw the graduation of 12 startups and managed to gain the support of 20 teams from Google and 40 mentors from nine countries.
The startups have also employed about 132 people and have collectively raised more than KES 700 million in funding. According to Google, the products and services rendered by startups that have passed through the accelerator have benefited more than 4.5 million people.
The 2018 instalment received more than 250 startups, including groups that had taken part in the first round. The applications were also sourced from an addition 11 countries. Out of the 11 finalists that managed to secure a spot for the grand competition, only two were from Kenya: Cloud9xp, an online marketplace and booking service that allows people to buy and sell experiences in various locations across Africa and the Middle East and PayGo, a smart meter and connected software service allows players in the LP gas (LPG) value chain to better serve their customers, driving the adoption of clean cooking fuels.
It is also worth noting that Cloud9xp will be representing Kenya in DEMO Africa’s fair in Casablanca, Morocco.
The finalists will receive 3 months of intense mentorship and support from the search giant, Cloud and Firebase credits and a three-week all-expense paid training at Launchpad Accelerator in Lagos and Joburg.
“The growth of entrepreneurship in Africa is critical to the survival of our continent,” says Fola Olatunji-David, Head of Startup Success and Services, Launchpad Accelerator Africa. “We’re currently as a region creating about three million jobs per year, while more than 11 million job seekers are entering the market. Google believes that empowering entrepreneurs and startups is essential to drive employment growth, and enable both economic and social development on the continent.”
“We’ve been committed for years to helping local businesses thrive online, as they are meaningful and crucial partners in our ecosystem,” says Google Nigeria country director, Juliet Ehimuan. “Through our different initiatives, we’ve helped to get tens of thousands of small businesses online and helped them succeed. We’re incredibly proud of how Launchpad Accelerator Africa Class 1 contributed to that legacy and can’t wait to see how Class 2 further builds on it.”