Google is inviting Nigeria and 16 African countries to apply for its ‘Google for Startups Accelerator: AI First’ program an initiative aimed at supporting African startups looking to use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to solve local challenges.
Other countries, include Algeria, Botswana, Cameroon, Côte D’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.
The 10-week accelerator program stands as a unique opportunity for startups, offering them a chance to not only tap into Google’s AI expertise but also to receive essential technical resources, including up to $350,000 in Google Cloud Credits.
Google noted that mentorship from seasoned AI professionals and invaluable networking connections are also part of the package, ensuring startups are poised for success.
Folarin Aiyegbusi, Head, Startup Ecosystem, Africa said in a statement that this program recognizes the transformative role that AI is playing across the world, innovating industries and reimagining the realms of possibilities.
‘’Africa’s tech landscape is vibrant and ever-evolving, it is inspiring to see African startups not only harnessing AI to address our unique challenges but also setting benchmarks for the world.
‘’AI First’ is more than a program; it’s a testament to our belief in the vision of these startups, ensuring they have the support and guidance they need to realise their full potential.
‘’This program recognises the transformative role that AI is playing across the world, innovating industries and reimagining the realms of possibilities,’’ he said.
The accelerator program’s impact is already evident through the Google for Startups Accelerator – Africa launched in 2018. This program has fostered the growth of 106 startups hailing from 17 African countries. Together, these startups have garnered over $263 million in funding and created more than 2,800 direct job opportunities within the region.
However, the criteria for entry are clear and compelling, targeting startups demonstrating traction between Seed and Series A stages, with scalable products or services boasting a substantial addressable market and a defensible growth model.
A strong technical foundation, particularly leveraging AI and Machine Learning, is essential. Moreover, a commitment from the CTO and technical roles to actively participate in the program is crucial.
The AI First Cohort particularly seeks startups building products or services that harness AI’s transformative capabilities. The application window for this cycle closes on September 6th, with the program itself scheduled to run from September 2023 to November 2023.
Selected startups stand to gain access to Google’s engineers, technical project partnerships, product support, custom mentorship, inclusion in the Google for Startups Accelerator Global Community and alumni network, Google Cloud Credits, and marketing spotlight opportunities.