Google Launchpad and Google Play South Africa have launched to boost African technology start-ups and develop a unique African design aesthetic, reports BrandSouthAfrica. The two initiatives will be based entirely in Africa, including in South Africa, and will offer budding and experienced tech entrepreneurs and designers hands-on and direct access to the Google brain trust, which will help them develop their ideas.
The Google Developers Launchpad Africa Space was opened on 13 November in Lagos, Nigeria. It will interact directly with tech entrepreneurs in that country, as well as offer support and software tools to help build sustainable tech business ideas from the rest of Africa. The Lagos operation is the first of its kind to be established outside the US. The programme is accepting applications for its first onsite and online courses, beginning in early 2018.
Applications are open to tech start-ups with their own seed funding from Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda. Those chosen to participate in the three-month programme will receive more than USD 3 million in equity-free support, working space, travel and public relations support, as well as access to Silicon Valley tech business experts over three years.
Google’s sub-Saharan Africa regional manager, Andy Volk, said Google had been looking for ways to get more involved in African tech businesses for a number of years. With an increasingly favourable tech business climate and a surge of unique technology ideas coming out of the continent, the time was right to begin building business relationships, he said. Google’s online app store, Play, this month opened to South African app developers and designers, no matter how small or inexperienced. In addition to gaining a virtual marketplace for their apps, designers are able to access Play’s development and commerce tools that will help them to monetise their products and access a market of millions of global users.