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Google launches major opportunities for African entrepreneurs and app developers

Published Nov 9, 2017


JOHANNESBURG - Google has announced two major new developments, which will provide a major boost to African entrepreneurs and app developers. 

In line with the commitment Google CEO Sundar Pichai made to support African entrepreneurs earlier this year, Google have announced the Google Developers Launchpad Africa, a new hands-on comprehensive mentorship program tailored exclusively to startups based in Africa. 

Google says this initiative will operate from a new Google Launchpad Space in Lagos, which is the first location for the programme outside of the US.

It will provide African startups with over $3-million (R423 862 50) in equity-free support, working space, and access to expert advisers from Google, Silicon Valley, and Africa over the next three years. Participants will also receive travel and PR support during the three-month programme.

Picture: AP Photo/Virginia Mayo, File

The first application period is now open through December 11, 9am PST and the first class will start in early 2018. More classes will be hosted in 2018 and beyond.

All startups must: 

- Be a technology startup.

- Be based in Sub-Saharan Africa and target the African market.

- Have already raised seed funding

Google said that they will additionally consider: 

The problem you are trying to solve. How does it create value for users? How are you addressing a real challenge for your home city, country or Africa broadly?

Will you share what you learn in Silicon Valley for the benefit of other startups in your local ecosystem?

“Anyone who spends time in the African technology space knows that the continent is home to some exciting innovations,” said Andy Volk, Sub-Saharan Africa Ecosystem Regional Manager. 

“Over the years, Google has worked with some incredible startups across Africa, tackling everything from healthcare, education, streamlining e-commerce to improving the food supply chain. We very much look forward to welcoming the first cohort of innovators for Launchpad Africa and continue to work together to drive innovation in the African market,” added Volk. 

At the same time, Google is making life easier for South African-based developers within the Google Play ecosystem. 

Starting today, developers in South Africa can sell paid applications, in-app products, and subscriptions in Google Play, with monthly payouts to their local bank accounts. They can take advantage of all of the tools offered by Google Play to monetise their products in the best way for their businesses, and they can target their products to the paid ecosystem of hundreds of millions of users in South Africa and across the world.

Android developers based in South Africa can get started right away by signing in to their Developer Console and setting up a Google merchant account. If their apps are already published as free, they can monetise them by adding in-app products or subscriptions. 

New apps can be published as paid, in addition to selling in-app products or subscriptions. 

Google's Sabrina Ellis speaks about the Google Pixel 2 phones at a Google event at the SFJAZZ Center in San Francisco, Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2017. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

“While there have been plenty of amazing apps built in South Africa, the process of monetising them was never as smooth as we knew it could be,” said Luke McKend, Google South Africa’s Country Director. 

Mckend further added, “By allowing local developers to monetise their products on the Play Store, we’re underscoring how serious we are about digitally empowering South Africans." 

Once a developer has prepared their apps and in-app products, they can price them in any available currencies, publish, and then receive payouts and financial data in South African Rand. Visit the developer help centre for more details.


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