Google has introduced the ‘Google for Startups Accelerator: AI First’ to speed up the adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Africa. This initiative aims to help African startups that want to use AI to solve local problems.
The initiative acknowledges the important role AI is playing worldwide, changing industries and creating new possibilities. It also recognizes how African startups are using AI to tackle urgent challenges in the region.
The ‘AI First’ program is designed to support startups interested in exploring AI’s potential. It takes lessons from previous projects like Google for Startups Accelerator: Africa, The Google for Startups Black Founders Fund, and The Google for Startups Accelerator: Women Founders. The main goal remains constant: to help and showcase solutions created by Africans.
Applications are now open for the 10-week accelerator, which doesn’t require equity stakes. It’s for startups up to series A stage based in Africa or those building Africa-focused AI and machine learning solutions. Participants will get access to Google’s AI knowledge, technical resources (including up to $350k Google Cloud Credits), guidance from experienced AI experts, and great networking chances.
Discussing the initiative, Folarin Aiyegbusi, the head of Startup Ecosystem, Africa, stated, “Africa’s tech scene is vibrant and always changing. It’s impressive to see African startups not only using AI to tackle our unique problems but also setting global standards. ‘AI First’ is more than just a program; it shows our belief in these startups’ vision and provides the support they need to reach their full potential. Startups can apply until September 6, 2023.”
Since its launch in 2018, the Google for Startups Accelerator: Africa program has helped 106 startups from 17 African countries. Together, these startups have secured over $263 million in funding and generated more than 2,800 direct job opportunities in the region.