Google had, in 2021, set up Black Founders Fund for Africa giving Ksh.350 million. The fund targeted 50 black-founded startups in their early stages in Africa. The Black Founders Fund is an equity-free investment. Hence, Google will not have a play in the structure of startups or require any financial returns from participants.
This fund was part of the company’s drive to promote racial equity amid the 2020 rampant racial injustices. The tech giant has once again disclosed a second round of the initiative. However, it has boosted the pool to Ksh.465 million and it will accept 60 startups, 10 more than the previous round.
Levelling the Playing Field
Despite the fact that black creators make up one of the world’s most rapidly developing entrepreneurial groups, less than 1% of all venture capital was invested in them throughout the globe in 2020. This was evidence of the existing link between economic justice and racial equality.
The Google for Firms Black Founders Fund, which was established in 2020, has so far disbursed $16 million to assist Black-led start-ups to acquire finance, improve neighborhoods, and generate generational social change.
Google for Startups, Jewel Burks, and André Barrence leads knew first-hand how tough it is to be a Black founder since they were themselves. Hence, they ensured that recipients of the Black Founders Fund would not only get cash but also continuous Google mentoring and product assistance to help them throughout their start-up journey.
This move was to ensure the success of the recipients of the finance. The first round recipients have gone on to hire more staff, raise over $73 million in follow-up capital, and increase their revenues.
Additionally, Folarin Aiyegbusi, the Sub-Saharan Africa head of startup for Google, acknowledged the challenges Black-founded tech firms face. For instance, they have difficulties securing adequate venture capital due to the unfair funding environment.
For this reason, Google is dedicated to assisting them to achieve success, develop into superior individuals and protect Africa’s communities and economies.
Participating African Countries
The fund is meant to assist in the creation of low-cost solutions to fundamental problems that affect those at the bottom of society’s economic pyramid. It will be provided in form of financial rewards and hands-on assistance to 60 Black-owned firms in 13 African countries.
Kenya, having established itself as a tech hub in Africa, is one of the prime-focus countries. Other countries with active technology and startup ecosystems the fund targets include Uganda, Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, South Africa, Tanzania, Cameroon, Senegal, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Ghana and Rwanda.
Google will provide non-dilutive funding worth between $50,000 (Ksh.5.8 million) and $100,000 (Ksh.11.6 million) for the selected firms. It will also distribute up to $200,000 (Ksh.23.2 million) to each startup in Google Ad Grants, credits for Google Cloud, and offer training and mentorship from the company’s veterans.
Kenya’s Position in the Tech hub scales
Kenya is seeking to gain a larger position in Africa and has positioned itself as a regional tech hub. In addition, it seeks to serve as a start-up destination for both multinational tech firms and global venture capital funding.
As one of the fund’s primary-focused regions of interest, Kenya’s strong technology and start-up ecosystem allow Kenyans with innovative ideas to raise finance for the growth of their firms.
For instance, in April 2019, the Kenyan start-up ecosystem earn second place in Africa for total funding raised throughout 2019. Kenyan start-up beneficiaries make up 19% of the total funding invested in Africa, with over $1.9 billion (Ksh.22 billion) capital raised from investors worldwide in the last three years.
Furthermore, Google settling in Nairobi makes it the third company to establish a hub in the city within the last three months. The first two were Visa and Microsoft, a global digital payment giant and an American tech behemoth, respectively.
Some of the beneficiaries of the first round of Black Founders Fund for Africa included eight Kenyan startup firms.
These included: WorkPay (HR), Finplus (fintech), Amitruck (logistics), Pezesha (fintech), Angaza Elimu (ed-tech), Raise (fintech), AquaRech (agri-tech), and MarketForce (retail-tech).
Benefits from the Initiative
- Recipients receive the very best of Google: The founders will be able to access the best of Google’s products, people, and practices.
- Access to capital: Selected startups will receive between $50,000 (Ksh.5.8M) and $100,000 (Ksh.11.6M) each. Funding is determined on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the company’s product development stage, present requirements, and how much money they’ve already raised.
- Global community: At its heart, Google for Startups Black Founders Fund for Africa is a worldwide movement. The selected entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to network with other founders from across the world.
- The Startup must be headquartered somewhere in Africa or legally based here.
- The founders must be Black or have diverse founding teams, i.e., they must directly support the Black community and have at least one Black C-level founding member.
- The startup must be in its early stages.
- The startup should not only provide solutions for the African market but also directly benefit the African community.
- The startup should be able to develop technology solutions for the regional and global markets.
- The startup should exhibit job creation potential.
- The startup should exhibit growth potential.
- The company products must be compatible with Google products.
- Startup with a live product in-market or company where technology is fundamental to their scaling potential. This is because the drive is not meant for non-profits or consultancies.
All eligible startups can apply for the fund, with Google for Startups Accelerator & Partner program graduates given priority. The deadline for the application for Google for Startups Black Founders Fund for Africa is May 31 and the winners announced on July 29 this year.
How to Apply
Submit your application via the campus.co website. Provide your email address to proceed. Google for Startups members are directly logged on for the application. Non-members are prompted with a questionnaire to fill in their personal details, i.e.,
First Name, Last Name, and country of residence. Then proceed to fill in startup details. Startups must have released a product and reached a certain milestone. The questionnaire must be appropriately fielded.
If your startup meets all the criteria, this is your opportunity to go big.