Google on Tuesday launched its first Google Developers Space in Lagos, previously referred to as the Google Launchpad Space.
Google launched the Google Developers Space to provide that home and space where entrepreneurs, developers and investors could connect and collaborate with each other. Google Developers Space is a hub for African developers, entrepreneurs and startups. Juliet Ehimuan, Country Director, Google Nigeria, said that the space was the next step to Google support for developers across the continent.
Ehimuan said that from Google’s commitment to train 100,000 developers across Africa over 50 percent had been met. She said that the commitment had prompted the launch of developer merchant support in the Google Play store making it possible for developers to earn money through apps they build.
“We are excited to continue our journey with the African startup and developer communities. “Through Google Developer Groups and Women Techmakers, Google provides training aligned with real-life job competency requirements. “There are 173 active Google Developer Groups (GDGs) in Africa, providing an opportunity for developers to meet other developers with similar interests at GDG meetup events,’’ she said.
According to her, these include talks on a wide range of technical topics and hands-on workshops. GDGs also host DevFests – community-led developer events focused on community building and learning about Google’s technologies. Ehimuan said that in 2019, more than 100 DevFest events were held across Africa and Launchpad Accelerator Africa had worked with 47 startups since the first class began in early 2018.
She said the companies had raised millions of dollars in investments and created over 900 jobs across the continent. Launchpad Africa has accelerated startups from 17 African countries so far: Algeria, Botswana, Cameroon, Côte D’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.
The next class will start at the Google Developer Space in May 2020. Accelerator Africa head of Operations, Onajite Emerhor, said at the launch that Google was strengthening its commitment to supporting the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Africa by opening the Google Developers Space. Emerhor said that Google had partnered Impact Hub to bring the Space to life and worked with a local company called Spacefinish, which designed it specifically to create an environment that fosters collaboration and innovation.
According to her, Google was looking forward to working with startups and other players in the ecosystem from across the continent at the Space. She said Google would not charge for use of the space, which, in addition to housing Google Launchpad Accelerator Africa, will support developer meetups, training, experts office hours.
She said the organization would also not charge for Women in tech events, startup programs outside of Launchpad, partner events that support the wider entrepreneur and developer ecosystem, Google initiatives for empowering people through digital skills training.
Earlier Google CEO Sundar Pichai made a commitment to African entrepreneurs in July 2017, to start the Launchpad Accelerator Africa programme and launch a space to house the efforts in Nigeria.