TWO scholarship programmes have been announced by Google for tech start-ups from countries such as Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa, this is as the global search engine giant kicks off the Launchpad Accelerator programme in Lagos.
Making the announcement during a press briefing held in Lagos recently, Google Country Director, Nigeria, Mrs Juliet Ehimuan said about 115,000 developers will be benefiting from the scheme christened “The African Scholarship programme” as part of support to developers across the continent”.
“We are announcing the Africa Scholarships programme, a digital skills initiative targeted to train 100,000 developers,” she stated.
“We will also be giving scholarships to 15,000 aspiring developers with training partnership from Udacity and Andela.”
Speaking further she said, “The scholarship will include 500 full nanodegree courses on Udacity and other intensive training programmes to help improve the opportunities within the developer ecosystem in Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa.”
Meanwhile, about 12 early stage developers from six Sub-Saharan countries including Nigeria are currently undertaking a three-month intensive mentorship and training programme tagged ‘Google Launchpad Accelerator Africa programme’ in Lagos.
Beyond the extensive digital skills training, the participating tech companies drawn from six countries namely, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda will, according to the Ehimuan, partake of “the $3 million budgeted for equity-free seed funding.”
“And over the next three years the Launchpad Accelerator Africa programme will provide African start-ups with over $3 million in equity-free support, working space, Silicon Valley and Africa. Participants will also receive travel and PR support during the three months programme,” she said.
To qualify for the scholarship schemes and the Launchpad Accelerator Africa programme, Mr Fola Olatunji Daniel, the Head, Start-up Success and Services, said that applicants must only be accepted from professional and aspiring developers who are based in Sub-Saharan Africa, targeting the African market and have already raised seed funding.
“For instance, Google will consider the problem a start-up is trying to solve, how it creates value for users and how they address real challenges for their home city, country or for Africa broadly before accepting a participant into the scheme,” he said.
Babymigo (Nigeria), a trusted social community for expecting mothers and young parents; Flexpay (Kenya), an automated and secured layaway e-commerce system; Kudi (Nigeria), a payment for Africa through messaging; OkadaBooks (Nigeria) a social platform that allows user easily create, spread and sell their stories, books and documents; OMG Digital (Ghana) a media platform that produces hyper-local, engaging and entertaining content African millennials love to consume and share; Teheca, (Uganda) a platform that helps families and individuals find the right health care providers and workers; TangoTv (Tanzania), a media streaming and video on demand service for Africa local content, films and shows and SwiftVEE (South Africa) a platform for connecting livestock agencies to a network of buyers and sellers are among the participants of the maiden the Launchpad Accelerate Africa in Lagos.
Speaking about why Nigeria was chosen for the maiden edition of the programme, Andy Volks, Sub-Saharan African Ecosystem Regional Manager, said the country was showing tractable evidence of leadership in technological innovation and investment.
“According to statistics from Disrupt Africa Tech Funding Report, Nigeria in 2017 topped the list of countries in Africa with the highest dollars investments on tech start-ups,” he cited.
“This is why it made perfect sense to anchor the programme here, an area with so much happening. We also looking at transcending boundaries and creating a pan-African market in Nigeria”.
He also disclosed that the timeframe for receiving applica0tions for the duo scholarship programmes will be announced.
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