Google has introduced the “Google for Startups Accelerator: AI First,” a pioneering initiative designed to provide support to African startups leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI) to tackle local challenges. Folarin Aiyegbusi, Head of Startup Ecosystem, Africa, highlighted that this program acknowledges the game-changing influence of AI on a global scale, revolutionizing industries and expanding the boundaries of innovation.
Aiyegbusi emphasized that this initiative also celebrates the remarkable contributions of African startups in addressing pressing regional issues through AI-driven solutions.
“Africa’s tech landscape is vibrant and ever-evolving; it is inspiring to witness African startups not only utilizing AI to address our unique challenges but also setting new benchmarks for the world. ‘AI First’ is more than just a program; it’s a testament to our faith in the visions of these startups, ensuring they receive the support and guidance needed to fully unlock their potential. This initiative acknowledges the transformative role AI plays globally, reshaping industries and envisioning new possibilities,” he stated.
He further noted that the “AI First” program is designed to empower startups eager to explore the potential of AI. Drawing lessons from previous successful endeavors like the Google for Startups Accelerator: Africa and the Google for Startups Black Founders Fund, the central objective remains consistent: to foster and spotlight solutions originating from Africa.
Participating startups will gain access to Google’s AI expertise, technical resources including up to $350,000 in Google Cloud Credits, mentorship from experienced AI professionals, and invaluable networking prospects.
Since its establishment in 2018, the Google for Startups Accelerator: Africa initiative has aided 106 startups from 17 African nations. Collectively, these startups have secured over $263 million in funding and generated more than 2,800 direct job opportunities within the region.
Aiyegbusi revealed that applications for the 10-week equity-free accelerator are now open. The program welcomes startups up to the series A stage based in Africa or those developing AI and machine learning solutions specifically designed for Africa. The application deadline is in September. For further details and to submit applications, interested startups are encouraged to visit the program’s official website.