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Google has launched applications for the fourth class of its Launchpad Africa accelerator. Ten startups will be selected to join the programme which will begin in September.

Meanwhile, the 12 startups from the accelerator’s third cohort, which was run in Lagos and Nairobi, have graduated. In a statement, Google said startups in the third class have raised close to $9-million in funding, created more than 120 jobs and their products and services have over 270 000 users.

Google added that the 23 startups from classes one and two have between them have created 385 direct jobs and raised over $19-million before, during and after they participated in the programme.

The accelerator’s head of startup success and services Folagbade Olatunji-David said the key areas that the programme assists participants with fall into the following areas, namely:

  • Helping them with technology challenges,
  • Helping them with leadership challenges (to improve the way founders and managers deal with staff)
  • Helping them improve day-to-day operations and governance and fourthly
  • Helping them to grow their firms through planning and preparing for growth and fundraising.

For the fourth cohort of Google Launchpad Accelerator, startups from 17 countries across the continent including Algeria, Botswana, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda and Zimbabwe will participate in the programme.

To be eligible for the programme, startups have to be technology startups, based in Sub-Saharan Africa, target the African market and have raised seed funding.

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Google additionally considers the problem each startup is trying to solve, how it creates value for users, and how it addresses a real challenge for its home city, country or Africa broadly.

Commenting, the accelerator’s head of startup success and services Folagbade Olatunji-David said that Google hopes to cover all 54 countries in Africa for future cohorts.

Google announced Launchpad Africa in March last year and has committed to providing African startups with over $3-million in equity-free support, working space, and access to expert advisers from Google, Silicon Valley and Africa over three years. The accelerator is based in Lagos.

Olatunji-David, who is hopeful that the programme will continue beyond 2020, said Google had limited the number of countries from which startups can apply to those countries that had the necessary support structures and communities in place to assist applicants.

This, he said, would ensure that applicants receive the necessary support once they graduate from the programme. “We don’t want startups to come out of these countries and feel isolated,” he added.

Click here to apply and applications close on 26 July.

Musa Suleiman
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