Kenyan Startups Invited To Apply For Cash And Mentorship From Google


Google has announced that applications for the second cohort of the Google for Startup Black Founders Fund for Africa are now open.

Following the success of the first cohort in 2021, Google will increase its commitment with an additional KES 116.3 million ($1M) in funding, and support for 10 more founders this year.

This will result in a commitment of KES 465 million ($4M) to 60 eligible black-founded startups across Africa.

The Black Founders Fund Africa is open to startups that meet the eligibility criteria in Kenya, Botswana, Cameroun, Côte D’ivoire, Ghana, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and  Zimbabwe.

While these thirteen countries are the prime focus due to their active tech and startup ecosystems, strong applications from other African countries will also be considered.

Selected startups will receive between Sh5.8 million( $50,000) and Sh11.6 million($100,000) non-dilutive cash awards and up to Sh23.3 million($200,000) per startup in Google Cloud credits, support in the form of training, and access to a  network of mentors to assist in tackling the challenges unique to each startup.

Applications will close on 31 May 2022 and the winners will be announced on 29 July 2022.

The following African businesses are eligible for selection for the BFF:

  1. early-stage startups with black founders or diverse founding teams
  2. startups that are benefiting the black community, operating and headquartered in Africa
  3. startups with a diverse founding team with at least one black founding member
  4. those having a legal presence on the continent and building technology solutions for Africa and the global market
  5. those who have growth potential to raise more funding and create jobs.

“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,” says Folarin Aiyegbusi, Head of Startup Ecosystem, SSA.

Last year, the KES 350 million ($3M) Google for Startups Black Founders Fund attracted 2,914 applications from 36 countries where 50 startups were selected to receive a KES 11.6 million($100,000) or Sh5.3 million($50,000) cash award along with up to KES 14 million($120,000) in Ad Grants and Sh11.6 million($100,000) in Cloud Credits.

The successful Kenyan companies were AmiTruck, Angaza Elimu, AquaRech, FinPlus, ImaliPay, Marketforce, Pezesha, Raise and WorkPay

The Google for Startups Black Founders fund was launched in the wake of the 2020 Black Lives Matter movement as part of Google’s racial equality commitments.

The initiative is a pledge toward driving economic opportunity for Black business owners.  

The BFF provides 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. 

“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”, Aiyegusi concludes.

Those interested in applying for the Google for Startups, Black Founders Fund Africa can find more information HERE.