Image Credit: Google for Startups
I’m not normally a fan of any discrimination even when it benefits historically disadvantaged groups. However, after years of talking to black startup founders in multiple African countries, I now understand why a Black Founders Fund is needed.
Startup founder after startup founder will tell you that unless you have a white person on your list of founding directors, you likely won’t get any funding from non-Africans. Some have resorted to installing a token white guy on their boards to good effect.
Google for Startups Black Founders Fund exists to help black founders get funding. It was introduced in 2020 and is open to all on the African continent.
Google says the initial recipients of the fund raised millions within months. Last year a total of 110 startups benefitted, raising over $107 million in follow-on funding.
Since its founding, it has supported 400+ founders who have raised over $400 million.
It’s not just capital, founders also get access to other resources – ongoing Google mentorship, Google Cloud credits, and product support.
Google cites one Ethiopian startup, a digital freight brokerage and transport company “utilised Google’s AI tools to optimize an offline and fragmented industry, making it more efficient.”
The startup founder had “access to Google Cloud credits, which he used to train multiple large machine learning models and receive guidance from Google mentors to prepare for fundraising.”
If this all sounds good to you, you could apply to join this year’s cohort.
Black Founders Fund 2023
Google is now accepting applications. Applications close on the 26th of March and so you have a little over 3 weeks to get yours in.
Eligible startups should have a technology-based product or service in the early stage or growth phase and demonstrate the potential to scale. Applicants must have a Black founder who plays an active leadership role in the company and be based in one of the eligible countries.
To apply, visit the program page at https://goo.gle/ApplyforBFFAfrica.
If you’re not black, worry not, you can still get in on the action. You only need at least one black founder on your founding team. So, just find you a token black guy and you’re good to go.