Technology start-ups, developers and enthusiasts with a commitment to building the ecosystem now have free access to the Google Developers Space, a facility formally opened in Lagos this week.
Previously referred to as the Google Launchpad Space, the Google Developers Space is a hub for African developers, entrepreneurs and startups. According to Google, it does not charge for use of the space, which in addition to housing Google Launchpad Accelerator Africa will support developer meetups, training, experts office hours, Women in tech events, startup programs (outside of Launchpad), partner events that support the wider entrepreneur and developer ecosystem, as well as Google initiatives for empowering people through digital skills training.
The company also says the launching of this facility is in fulfilment of a commitment made to African entrepreneurs by Sundar Pichai, Google CEO when at the Google for Nigeria event in 2017, pledged the start of the Launchpad Accelerator Africa program, as well as launching of a space to house these efforts in Nigeria.
The company now says it is launching the Google Developers Space to provide that home and a space where entrepreneurs, developers, Venture Capital firms and investors can connect and collaborate with each other.
“It is amazing to have people creating local solutions to local problems, and I firmly believe that with the right support and environment, we can indeed have global successes coming out of Africa,” said Juliet Ehimuan, country director, Google Nigeria during the launch. She explained that a facility such as this is an opportunity to support the visions of startups and developers in bringing to life, ideas that can help create innovative solutions and spur positive developments across the continent.
“Google is strengthening its commitment to supporting the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Africa by opening the Google Developers Space today. We have partnered with Impact Hub to bring the Space to life and worked with a local company called Spacefinish, which designed it specifically to create an environment that fosters collaboration and innovation. We’re looking forward to working with startups and other players in the ecosystem from across the continent at the Space,” said Onajite Emerhor, Launchpad Accelerator Africa head of Operations.
Launchpad Accelerator Africa according to Google has worked with 47 startups since the first class kicked off in early 2018. These companies have raised millions of dollars in investments and created over nine hundred jobs across the continent. Launchpad Africa has accelerated startups from 17 African countries so far: Algeria, Botswana, Cameroon, Côte D’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. The next class will kick off at the Google Developer Space in May 2020.
“There is no reason why we can’t have global tech successes coming out of Africa,” said Ehimuan. She further explained that a lot of African start-ups struggle with issues such as access to high-quality infrastructure, access to mentors, and access to funds among other challenges, but all these can be better tackled through the provision of a facility where “likeminded people can meet and support each other to grow”.