Digital Inclusion: Google Launches First Accelerator for African Women Startup Founders

Digital Inclusion: Google Launches First Accelerator for African Women Startup Founders

Google has taken a crucial step toward empowering African women entrepreneurs through the launch of its first Google for Startups Accelerator: Women Founders Africa Program. The three-month accelerator program is designed to solve the particular problems that African women founders encounter, as well as to give them the resources and opportunity they need to thrive and scale their startups.

The Google for Startups Accelerator Women Founders Africa Program is an extension of Google’s 2017 Google for Startups Accelerator Africa program, and it reflects Google’s commitment to assisting startups and addressing the challenges encountered by African women entrepreneurs. The initiative is designed to encourage more women to participate and thrive in the tech startup sector.

Investing in African women entrepreneurs is crucial for economic development and employment creation for the continent’s growing young population. Women constitute half of the global population, and they can produce major economic development and prosperity. However, they face numerous challenges, including limited access to resources, funding, and networks.

This becomes even more important if you consider Briter Intelligence, report which reveals that only 3% of the total tech startup funding that went into Africa between 2013-2021 went to female-owned startups, while a whopping 76% of the total funding during the 8 years went to startups led by males.

Not only is female-owned tech startup few in Africa but female founders are fewer in specific sub-sectors other than the fintech space, which is known to attract the most investor funding. The few female tech founders typically prefer to operate in sub-sectors like edtech and health tech which do not receive a lot of attention from investors. The report also shows that female startup founders are less confident in both their ability to pitch to investors and in their startups’ ability to grow

Google’s accelerator program aims to provide women with the necessary support and resources to overcome these challenges and succeed. The program will provide women with access to mentorship, training, and help from Google and its partners, as well as opportunities to network and collaborate with other entrepreneurs.

How the startup accelerator program works

The program is open to female founders developing technology startups in or for Africa. These founders must also have a functional product or service, a credible business plan, and a working team to be eligible for the program.

The 12-week program will begin in March 2023 and will feature one monthly hybrid boot camp. A written application and an interview with the program staff are required as part of the application process.

The program provides several benefits. Selected participants will also get access to Google’s products, resources, tools, and technology, as well as contacts with investors to help their firms grow, as well as the opportunity to network with industry leaders.

The Women Founders will also have industry expert mentorship that will advise and assist the selected participants during the program. They will play a key role in assisting startups in realizing their full potential and making a difference in their communities.

What the Program Organizers are saying

Folarin Aiyegbusi, head of Startup Ecosystem, Africa at Google, said, “We are excited about the open call for applications for our 3-month accelerator program, specifically tailored to address the unique challenges faced by women founders in Africa.” He went on to say, “We believe that investing in women entrepreneurs in Africa is critical for economic empowerment that will enable the creation of jobs for the growing African youth population.”

Aiyegbusi further said, “Elevating the participation and leadership of women in the entrepreneurship ecosystem is crucial for promoting gender equality and driving economic growth in Africa. This program is looking to close down the institutional barriers placed on women, which leads to them being secluded from participating fully in economic empowerment programs.”

Akua Nyame-Mensah, a mentor for the program, on his part 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.

Google’s accelerator program for African women founders is a great step forward in empowering female entrepreneurs and giving them the resources they need to thrive. This initiative will encourage more women to enter the tech startup field and assist them in overcoming obstacles. Google’s investment in female entrepreneurs contributes to economic growth and employment creation for Africa’s growing youth population.

Women founders building tech startups in or for Africa can apply for the program via the program website at before the February 20th, 2023, deadline. Eligible applications must also have a functioning product or service, a credible business concept, and a functioning team. A written application and an interview with the program staff are part of the application process.