Google has announced two major new developments, which will provide a major boost to African entrepreneurs and app developers respectively.
The first is the Google Developers Launchpad Africa, a hands-on mentorship program tailored to startups based in Africa, which follows from a commitment to support African entrepreneurs by Google CEO Sundar Pichai.
Building on the success of Google’s global Launchpad Accelerator programme, this initiative will operate from a new Google Launchpad Space in Lagos; the first onsite location for the programme outside the US.
It will provide African startups with over $3-million 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.
The first application period is open now, through 11 December, and the first class will start in early 2018. More classes will be hosted in 2018 and beyond.
All applicants must be technology startups be based in sub-Saharan Africa, targeting the African market, and have already raised seed funding.
Google will additionally consider the problem they 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?
Applicants must all be willing to share what they 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,” says 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.”
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 now 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.
“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,” says Luke McKend, Google South Africa’s country director.
“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.