Google is looking to help equip 10 million Africans with digital skills over the next five years to improve their employment chances. The effort builds on the company's announcement last year when pledged to train 1 million young people, a target it has already exceeded.
Charitable unit Google.org, is committing $20 million to non-profits working to improve lives across Africa. Already announced are $2.5 million in initial grants to the non-profit subsidiaries of African start-ups Gidi Mobile and Siyavula to deliver free access to learning for 400,000 low-income students in South Africa and Nigeria. The two outfits will develop new digital learning materials that will be offered free of charge to everyone who wants to access them.
Google is rolling a Google.org Impact Challenge in Africa in 2018 to award $5 million in grants. The effort is open to all non-profits in Africa and the best ideas will be put to online vote.
The company says it is looking to do more to support African entrepreneurs in building successful tech businesses and products. “Based on our global Launchpad Accelerator programme, this initiative will provide more than $3 million in equity-free funding, mentorship, working space and access to expert advisers to more than 60 African startups over three years,” Google says. “Intensive three-month programmes, held twice per year, will run out of a new Google Launchpad Space in Lago, the programme’s first location outside of the United States.”
Google announced in March that its Launchpad Accelerator was looking to pick up its first Africa start-ups and began calling for applications from outfits in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa. The initiative is aimed at companies that already have a product and are ready to scale up in their respective countries and around the world.