12 Kenyan start-ups have been selected by Google among 60 eligible black-founded startups across Africa for the second cohort of Google for Startups Black Founders Fund (BFF).
In a statement to newsrooms on Tuesday, September 6 the tech giant announced that the startups joining the program will receive a total of KES 479.2 million(USD 4million) in funding and support to enable them scale up their ongoing work.
Each of the selected startups will receive support in the form of a 6-month training program that includes access to a network of mentors to assist in tackling challenges that are unique to them.
They will also be part of tailored workshops, support networks, and community-building sessions.
The 60 grantees will also get non-dilutive awards of between KES 6 million (USD 50,000) and KES 12 million (USD 100,000) and up to KES 24 million (USD 200,000) in Google Cloud credit.
The grantees, made up of 50% women-led businesses, hail from Botswana, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, and Uganda.
They specialize in sectors such as fintech, healthcare, e-commerce, logistics, agtech, education, hospitality and smart cities.
The top five countries with the most startups selected for the program are Nigeria with twenty-three grantees, Kenya with twelve grantees, including Ajua, BuuPass, DohYangu, FlexPay, Keep IT Cool, and Leja, Rwanda with six grantees, South Africa with five grantees, and Uganda with four grantees.
Botswana and Senegal have one selected startup each, Cameroon and Ghana both have three grantees each while Ethiopia has two selected grantees.
“Africa is a diverse continent with massive opportunity but the continent is faced with the challenge of limited diversity in venture capital funding flow. We hope that the Black Founders Fund program will be able to bridge the gap of disproportionate funding between expat startups over local and black-led companies.”, says Folarin Aiyegbusi, Head of Startup Ecosystem, SSA.
Launched in April 2012, the Google for Startups program has created over 4,600 jobs and raised more than $290M in funding.
The Google for Startups Black Founders Fund program will introduce the grantees in Africa to Google’s products, connections, and best practices which will help the founders to level the playing field as they build better products and services that add value to the African economy.
Google Head of Government Affairs and Public Policy Charles Murito says there is need to ensure governments in Africa work on policies and infrastructure to support adoption of cross-border solution being developed in various markets.
“You do have the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) which allows for data to flow from one country to the other. When you have data localization bills passing in different countries then companies such as BuuPass cannot be able to build their business beyond their borders,” said Murito.
One of the startups chosen for BFF is Solutech which provides Fast-Moving Goods firms with real time data from field sales team who conduct sales efficiently by leveraging on powerful insights to help firms in their day-to-day and strategic decision making.