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Google announces ‘AI First Accelerator Program’ for African startups

AI First

Google today announced the “Google for Startups Accelerator: AI First”, an initiative aimed at supporting African startups looking to use artificial intelligence to solve local challenges.

According to the tech giant, the program recognizes 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.

Speaking about the initiative, Folarin Aiyegbusi, Head of Startup Ecosystem, Africa, said:

  • “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 realize their full potential.

According to Aiyegbusi, Applications for the 10-week equity-free accelerator are now open and Google is inviting startups up to series A stage based in Africa or building Africa-centric solutions with AI and machine learning. Startups are expected to apply on the Google Accelerator website between now and September 6.

Aiyegbusi added that participants will benefit from access to Google's AI expertise, and technical resources including up to $350k Google Cloud Credits, mentorship from seasoned AI professionals, and invaluable networking opportunities.

Since its 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.

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