Twenty-three startups out of the 60 shortlisted in Africa for $4 million funding by Google are Nigerian firms.
The ”equity-free cash” comes under the tech giant’s funding scheme called Google Black Founders Fund (BFF) for startup tech firms in African nations.
Google’s Head of Startup Ecosystem, Sub-Sahara Africa, Folarin Aiyegbusi, who made this known in a statement yesterday, did not name the lucky Nigerian firms
Aiyegbusi, however, explained that the companies would be part of tailored workshops, support networks, and community-building sessions.
The programme will be distributed via Google’s implementation partner, CcHUB.
Aiyegbusi said the scheme reinforces Google’s commitment to empowering entrepreneurs and startups in Africa as a way of creating employment and growth on the continent.
He described Africa as a continent with massive opportunities but faced with the challenge of limited diversity in venture capital funding flow.
The Google Head of Startup Ecosystem, said: “We hope that the Black Founders Fund programme will be able to bridge the gap of disproportionate funding between expert startups over local and black-led companies.
“Each of the selected startups would receive support in the form of a six-month training programme that includes access to a network of mentors to assist in tackling challenges.
Aiyegbusi said the equity-free cash assistance to the startups would enable them to take care of immediate needs such as paying staff members, funding inventory, and maintaining software licences.
He explained that the scheme was designed to help the start-ups buffer the cost of taking on debt in the early stages of their businesses, as many of them had no steady revenue streams yet.
In a related development, Nigerian start-ups have raised over $600 million in investments in the first quarter of 2022.
This was made known by the Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Inuwa Abdullahi, during the IHatch Incubation programme Cohort-1 demonstration day and Cohort-2 inauguration in Abuja.
Abdullahi said such investments in the start-ups in Nigeria by the global community speak to the opportunities, innovative talents of Nigerians, and the commitment of the regulatory body to a digital economy.
“Nigerian startups have continued to attract more investments than other countries on the continent, with a number of the startups raising about $600 million in the first quarter (Q1) of 2022,” he added.
The NITDA boss said that with over 3,300 start-ups in Nigeria, there would be opportunities for jobs and wealth creation for youths with hope for speedy development for the larger economy.