Google pledges $6m to non-profits in Africa

Google pledges $6m to non-profits in Africa
Google pledges $6m to non-profits in Africa

Google will give $6 million to selected registered non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and social enterprises in Nigeria ,SA and Kenya through its new Google Impact Challenge.

The tech giant today opened applications for non-profits to apply for parts of this funding. Winners will be announced by the end of the year.

The funding will be split over the three countries ($2 million each) and then further split into four winners and eight runners-up from each country. The winners will receive $250 000 each, and the runners-up will get $125 000.

To apply for the funding, non-profits need to submit an idea that will improve the lives of people in their country and provide economic opportunities to people through innovative use of technology. Applications will be open for just over a month.

However, the technology involved does not have to be hi-tech, as Google says it could be as simple as a text message system that sends helpful information to people.

Applicants from each country have to be based in that country, as Google says it really wants the winners to be hands-on with the community.

Three winners will be chosen by a panel of local judges and one winner will be decided by public vote.

The Nigerian judging panel is made up of high level policy targets and influencers within the market. They are:

  • Chairman/CEO Channels Media Group, John Momoh,
  • Chairman/CEO, Zinox Technologies, Leo-Stan Ekeh,
  • CEO, Tony Elumelu Foundation, Parminder Vir,
  • Rapper and CEO of Chocolate City Music Group, MI Abaga,
  • Philanthropist and Executive Director of Nigeria Network of NGOs, Oluseyi Oyebisi,
  • Philanthropist and Media entrepreneur, Mo Abudu,
  • Ex-footballer and founder of the Kanu Heart Foundation, Kanu Nwankwo,
  • Managing General Partner, EchoVC Partners, Eghosa Omoigui and
  • Google Country Director, Juliet Ehimuan-Chiazor.

The public vote provides a chance for people to decide which organisation gets an extra portion of funding to help them impact their community.

The winning non-profits will get cash as well as access to guidance, technical assistance and mentorship from Google.

Google Impact Challenge SA applications close on 4 July. The final awards ceremony will be held during the week of 26 November.

Over the next five years, there will be more opportunities for non-profits to apply for funding, as part of the commitment made to the continent last year by Google CEO Sundar Pichai to provide $20 million in funding to African non-profits.

Other Google Impact Challenges around the world have supported ideas ranging from smart cameras for wildlife conservation and solar lights for off-grid communities, to a mobile application that helps protect women from domestic violence

African agri-tech grows by 110%, gets more than $19m investment in 2 years

African agri-tech grows by 110%, gets more than $19m investment in 2 years

African agri-tech grows by 110%, gets more than $19m investment in 2 years
African agri-tech grows by 110%, gets more than $19m investment in 2 years

Investments in agriculture technology in Africa have seen $19-million invested in the past two years, with a new report showing agri-tech startups have grown 110% in the period.

There are 82 agri-tech startups operating across the continent at the start of this year, 52% of which started in the last 24 months, according to the Agrinnovating for Africa: Exploring the African Agri-Tech Startup Ecosystem Report 2018 report by Disrupt Africa.

Kenya and Nigeria both lead the agri-tech markets, followed by Ghana, and collectively account for over 60% active startups in the sector.

Although the report tracks annual startup activity in the agri-tech space since 2010, the authors say it began to boom in 2016, after which 43 new ventures were launched.

“The research shows that while Kenya was the early pioneer of the African agri-tech sector, accelerating interest in West Africa over the past two years means this region now dominates the market; and is home to two of the top three agri-tech ecosystems on the continent,” Disrupt Africa co-founder Tom Jackson said in a statement. ““Everyone knows how important the agricultural sector is across Africa, but until very recently it remained relatively untouched by tech innovators. That is suddenly changing as entrepreneurs and investors realize the scale of the challenges facing farmers, and spot opportunities to reach huge addressable markets.”

Fundraising grew 121% from 2016 to in 2017 alone.

“The scope for innovation in the agricultural sphere is vast – a refreshed take on the sector could unlock huge value for the whole of Africa,” says Gabriella Mulligan, co-founder of Nairobi-based Disrupt Africa. “Behind the scenes, there has been formidable acceleration in the agri-tech market recently, and it is one of the most interesting spaces to watch in Africa today.”.

Startups serving as eCommerce platforms to the industry have the largest share, accounting for 32.9% of total startups in the space. Other popular sub-sectors of the agri-tech space include information and knowledge sharing, and fintech solutions to farmers.