Google To Aid Nigerian, South African Startups with $2.5m

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Google reaffirmed its commitment to their non-profit arm, Google.org, on Thursday by announcing that the company will provide nonprofit organisations with up to $50 million in funding. Out of this $50 million, $20 million has been set aside for African nonprofits to try and better prepare people for the coming shift in the nature of work which is likely to be brought about by new technological innovations.

The company also announced that initial grants of $2.5 million will be given to the nonprofit arms of African startups Gidi Mobile and Siyavula. The two startups have been identified to provide free access to learning for 400,000 low-income students in Nigeria and South Africa.

Nigerian startup Gidimo, which was created by mobile technology enterprise Gidi Mobile Ltd, is Africa’s first mobile learning and personal advancement platform. The startup is on a mission to inspire and enable Africans to achieve their personal advancement goals.

Siyavula on the other hand is a startup that enables educators to create, share, and adapt freely accessible and openly-licensed Open Education Resources (OERs) which are aligned to the South African school Mathematics and Science curricula. What makes this startup different to others is that unlike the vast majority of material which is under a traditional, restrictive copyright license, Siyavula material can be adapted to ensure cultural relevance or refreshed without incurring costs. In addition to the online, printable resources, Siyavula publishes a range of free Mathematics and Science textbooks.

“Our charitable arm, Google.org, is committing $20 million over the next five years to nonprofits that are working to improve lives across Africa.” said Sundar Pichai, chief executive officer of Google, whilst speaking at a Google event in Lagos.

“We’re giving $2.5 million in initial grants to the nonprofit arms of African startups Gidi Mobile and Siyavula to provide free access to learning for 400,000 low-income students in South Africa and Nigeria. The grantees will also develop new digital learning materials that will be free for anyone to use.

“We also want to invite nonprofits from across the continent to share their ideas for how they could impact their community and beyond. So we’re launching a Google.org Impact Challenge in Africa in 2018 to award $5 million in grants”, he said.

Pichai concluded by emphasising that any eligible nonprofit in Africa can apply, and anyone will be able to help select the best ideas by voting online.

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