Google announces AI First accelerator program for African startups

Google today announced the launch of a new accelerator program to support Artificial Intelligence (AI) startups in Africa. The “Google for Startups Accelerator: AI First”, initiative seeks to recognize startups keen on delving into AI’s possibilities across the continent.

It also seeks to highlight the significant contributions of African startups in addressing some of the region’s most pressing challenges through the use of AI. 

The 10-week equity-free accelerator program 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.

“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. ‘’ Folarin Aiyegbusi, Head of Startup Ecosystem, Africa, said.

‘’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 realise their full potential,’’ Folarin added. 

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.

The program is open to startups currently up to series A stage based in Africa or building Africa-centric solutions with AI and machine learning. 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.

Applications close on September 6, 2023.

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Nixon Kanali

Tech journalist based in Nairobi. I track and report on tech and African startups. Founder and Editor of TechTrends Media. Nixon is also the East African tech editor for Africa Business Communities. Send tips to

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