Nigeria leads in Google’s Launchpad Africa programme

Four Nigerian start-ups have emerged finalists in the second class of Google Launchpad Accelerator Africa. The four are among 11 selected from six African countries.

 

First announced in July, 2017, the programme is Google’s initiatives that support the African entrepreneurial ecosystem, and builds on the Launchpad programmes. The 11 finalists from six countries include AppZone (Nigeria) that built a software service (SaaS) for fintech ecosystems for digital banks, allowing them to reduce operational costs while improving service delivery.

 

 

“Others are Chalkboard Education  (Ghana); Cloud9xp (Kenya); EzyAgric (Uganda); Formplus (Nigeria); Medsaf (Nigeria); Mintrics (Egypt); PayGo Energy (Kenya); Pineapple (South Africa); Preeva (South Africa); Thank U Cash (Nigeria). Unveiling the start-ups that made the second class in Lagos, Head of Startup Success and Services, Launchpad Accelerator Africa, Mr Fola Olatunji- David, said the class was part of the Google’s ongoing efforts to support entrepreneurship on the continent.

 

“The accelerator, which is housed in Lagos, Nigeria, has already demonstrated its value as the first Launchpad Accelerator Africa class, saw 12 startups graduates, with more than 20 teams from Google and 40 mentors from nine countries supporting them.

 

Already run in Africa, it has successfully connected over 200 African mentors with several hundred African tech startup entrepreneurs, through oneweek boot camps in six different African cities over the last two years.

 

“The startups have directly created 132 jobs and between them, have raised over 7 million dollars in funding,” Olatunji David said.

 

“Their products are being used by approximately 4.5 million people. Google is currently creating about three million jobs per year, while more than 11 million job seekers are entering the market and believes that empowering entrepreneurs and start-ups are essential to drive employment growth. It will also allow both economic and social development on the continent.”

 

Besides, Olatunji-David said that for the second class, Google extended applications to additional 11 countries and received more than 250 applications, including graduates of the previous Launchpad programmes, with others referred to the programme by Launchpad mentors.

 

He said that each of the finalists would receive three months intense mentoring and support from Google, Cloud and Firebase Credits, three weeks all-expensepaid training at Launchpad Accelerator Africa (Lagos and Johannesburg).

 

He said they would also have access to Google engineers, resources and mentors during and after the programme inclusion in the Launchpad Accelerator Global Community and network of alumni and mentors. According to him, applicants needed to be an early stage technology startup based in sub-Saharan Africa, targeting the African market that had already raised seed funding.

 

Earlier, the Country Director, Mrs Juliet Ehimuan-Chiazor, said that Google had been committed for years to helping local businesses thrive online, saying that they were meaningful and crucial partners in our ecosystem.

 

“Through our different initiatives, we have helped to get tens of thousands of small businesses online, and helped them to succeed,” she said. “We are incredibly proud of how Launchpad Accelerator Africa ‘Class 1’ contributed to that legacy and cannot wait to see how ‘Class 2’ further builds on it.”

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