Access to capital continues to pose a challenge for businesses in Africa, especially for women. For Evelyn Kaingu , CEO of Lupiya , this challenge represented an opportunity to leverage technology to support an underserved market. Lupiya is the first fully online micro-lending business in Zambia, offering online personal and business loans to marginalized communities with a focus on enabling access for women. Lupiya is an alumnus of the inaugural Google for Startups Black Founders Fund in Africa launched in 2021 and like fellow startups on the continent, is contributing to economic growth using digital technologies.
In 2021, African tech startups collectively raised $4.3 billion– a 2.5x increase from 2020 funding. This growth, however, does not discount the existence of a significant funding gap for locally-founded African startups as 82% of them report difficulties in accessing funding.
Following Google’s commitment to building a more equitable future, Google for startups launched the inaugural Black Founders Fund in Africa program in 2021 – supporting 50 black-led businesses across the continent. Since then those startups have gone on to raise $73M+ in follow-on funding, hired 518 staff members and grown their revenues.
Today we’re pleased to announce that we will be extending our support in Africa, with a second $4 million Black Founders Fund which will provide 60 startups in Africa with up to $100,000 in equity-free cash awards, paired with up to $200,000 per startup in Google Cloud credits as well as mentorship, technical and scaling support from the best of Google.
This announcement follows the success of inaugural Black Founders Funds in the US, Brazil, Europe and Africa. Over the years, Google for Startups through the Google for Startups Accelerator and Partner programs, has supported over 1,500 startups in Africa, and their success speaks for itself as today 20% of all VC funding deployed on the continent is going to the Google for Startups Africa alumni community.
We invite you to visit the program page at goo.gle/BFFAfrica to read more about the program, eligibility criteria and how to apply. Applications are open from today and close May 31st
*Folarin Aiyegbusi, Head of Startup Ecosystem, Sub Saharan Africa