Google for Startups Accelerator to finance AI-First African startups – Applications ongoing

Google for startups

In acknowledging that Artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming the world in unprecedented ways; creating new opportunities and challenges for various sectors and industries, Africa included, Google for startups Accelerator has launched a new initiative called Google for Startups Accelerator: AI First. This programme is designed to help startups that are using AI and machine learning (ML) to solve local challenges, scale their businesses, and reach new markets.

The Google for Startups Accelerator: AI First is a 10-week equity-free accelerator that offers selected startups access to Google’s AI expertise, technical resources including up to US$350,000 Google Cloud Credits, mentorship from seasoned AI professionals, and invaluable networking opportunities. The programme also 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 programme is open to startups up to Series A stage based in Africa or building Africa-centric solutions with AI and ML. The applications are now open until September 6, 2023. The selected startups will be announced in November 2023 and the programme will run from January to March 2024.

Folarin Aiyegbusi, head of startup ecosystem for Africa at Google, 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 programme; it’s a testament to our belief in the vision of these startups, ensuring they have the support and guidance they need to realise their full potential.”

Some of the examples of African startups that are using AI to solve local challenges are:

  • Zindi: Zindi is a data science platform that connects data scientists across Africa with real-world problems from various organisations. Zindi hosts online competitions where data scientists can compete to find the best solutions using AI and ML. Zindi also provides training and mentorship to aspiring data scientists and helps them find job opportunities.
  • 54gene: 54gene is a health technology company that aims to improve the diagnosis and treatment of diseases in Africa by leveraging genomics and precision medicine. 54gene has built the largest biobank of African genomic data, which can be used to develop new drugs and diagnostics that are tailored to the needs of African populations.
  • OkHi: OkHi is a digital address system that enables people to share their location easily and accurately. OkHi uses a combination of GPS, mobile technology, and AI to create a unique OkHi address for each user, which can be shared with anyone through a simple link. OkHi addresses can be used for various purposes, such as e-commerce, delivery, emergency services, and banking.
  • AgroCenta: AgroCenta is an agritech platform that connects smallholder farmers with buyers and service providers. AgroCenta uses AI and ML to provide farmers with real-time market information, access to finance, crop insurance, and quality control. AgroCenta also helps buyers source quality produce from farmers at fair prices.

These are just some of the examples of how African startups are using AI to solve local challenges. There are many more startups that are applying AI in different domains and sectors, such as education, energy, entertainment, finance, security, and transport.

If you are an African startup that is using AI or ML to solve local challenges or create innovative solutions for your community, you should apply for the Google for Startups Accelerator: AI First programme. This is a great opportunity to learn from Google’s experts, access technical resources, network with other startups, and scale your business. Don’t miss this chance to join the AI First community and showcase your vision to the world. Apply now before September 6, 2023!

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