February 5, 2020

Google connects Nigerian start-ups to $3M equity-free funding

By Juliet Umeh

Search Engine platform, Google, has launched its first Google Developers Space in Lagos, connecting Nigerian start-ups to the $3 million in equity-free funding. The funding will help the start-ups grow their businesses.

The developer space is a hub for African developers, entrepreneurs and start-ups to network, share ideas and gain knowledge for business growth.

In July 2017, Google CEO Sundar Pichai made a commitment to start a Launchpad Accelerator Africa program, for African entrepreneurs. He committed $3 million in equity-free funding to take up to 60 African start-ups through the Accelerator in three years.

Google says in line with this commitment it is launching the Developer Space in Lagos, where entrepreneurs, developers and investors can connect and collaborate with one another.

Head of Operations Launchpad Accelerator Africa, Onajite Emerhor, said: “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 start-ups and other players in the ecosystem from across the continent at the Space.”

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She added that Google does not charge for use of the space, which in addition to housing Google Launchpad Accelerator Africa will support developer meet-ups, training, experts office hours, Women in tech events, start-up 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.

According to Emerhor, Launchpad Accelerator Africa 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.

Country Director, Google Nigeria, Juliet Ehimuan, said: “This space is the next step to our support for developers across the continent. From our commitment to train 100 000 developers across Africa and the launch of developer merchant support in the Google Play store, making it possible for developers to earn money through apps they build. We are excited to continue our journey with the African startup and developer communities.

“Through Google Developer Groups and Women Techmakers, Google provides training aligned with real-life job competency requirements. There are 173 active Google Developer Groups, GDGs, in Africa, providing an opportunity for developers to meet other developers with similar interests at GDG meet up events, which include talks on a wide range of technical topics and hands-on workshops,” she added.