Google has unveiled the “Google for Startups Accelerator: AI First”, an initiative aimed at supporting African startups looking to use artificial intelligence to solve local challenges. The program recognises the transformative role that AI is playing across the world, innovating industries and reimagining the realms of possibilities. It also highlights the significant contributions of African startups in addressing some of the region’s most pressing challenges through the use of AI.
The ‘AI First’ program is aimed at supporting startups keen on delving into AI’s possibilities. It draws learnings from past initiatives such as the Google for Startups Accelerator: Africa, The Google for Startups Black Founders Fund, and The Google for Startups Accelerator: Women Founders, the primary aspiration remains consistent: to support and highlight African-driven solutions.
Applications for the 10-week equity-free accelerator are now open, inviting startups up to series A stage based in Africa or building Africa-centric solutions with AI and machine learning. Participants will benefit from access to Google’s AI expertise, technical resources including up to $350,000 Google Cloud Credits, mentorship from seasoned AI professionals, and invaluable networking opportunities.
Speaking about the initiative, Folarin Aiyegbusi, Head of Startup Ecosystem, Africa, remarked: “Africa’s tech landscape is vibrant and ever-evolving. It’s 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.
Since inception in 2018, the Google for Startups Accelerator: Africa program has supported 106 startups from 17 African countries. Collectively, these startups have raised over $263 million in funding and created over 2,800 direct job opportunities in the region.
Startups are invited to apply by September 6, 2023.