Google has announced that it has launched the Google for Startups Accelerator: Women Founders Africa Program, its first dedicated startup accelerator for women founders in Africa.
Applications are now open for the inaugural program, Google said. “The program aims to empower and support women founders on the continent by providing resources and opportunities for them to scale their startups and address African problems,” Google explained.
Women founders who are building tech startups in Africa or for Africa can apply through the program website at accelerate Africa before the 20 February deadline.
Eligible applicants must have a working product or service, a viable business model, and a working team. The application process includes a written application and an interview with the program team.
The 12-week program will commence in March 2023 and include one boot camp per month, held in a hybrid style of online and in-person sessions.
Selected participants will receive access to Google’s products, mentoring from industry experts, resources, tools, and technology, as well as networking opportunities and connections with investors to support the growth of their startups.
“We are excited about the open call for applications for our three-month accelerator program, specifically tailored to address the unique challenges faced by women founders in Africa. We believe that investing in women founders in Africa is critical for economic empowerment that will enable the creation of jobs for the growing African youth population,” says Folarin Aiyegbusi, head of Startup Ecosystem, Africa at Google.
African female founders face challenges in their entrepreneurial pursuits, including limited access to funding. Despite these challenges, women make up a significant portion of African entrepreneurs, with 58% of businesses in Africa being owned by women.
“Elevating the participation and leadership of women in the entrepreneurship ecosystem is crucial for promoting gender equality and driving economic growth in Africa. Investing in women-led startups is a key step towards achieving this goal, and Google’s commitment to these goals is reflected in the launch of the Google for Startups Accelerator: Women Founders Africa Program,” added Aiyegbusi.
Akua Nyame-Mensah, a mentor for the program said, “It’s an honor to be a mentor in the inaugural Google for Startups Accelerator Program for Women Founders. As part of supporting the next generation of leaders in Africa, this program offers women an opportunity to grow their networks and the accountability to achieve their professional goals. The focus on mentorship will be invaluable. Participants will benefit and grow from the exchange of ideas and experiences.”