Four startups from around Africa have been selected to join the 20th cohort of Silicon Valley-based incubator Blackbox Connect, and will travel to the US to take part in the live-in two week programme.
Blackbox Connect aims to elevate entrepreneurs from around the world, and is based on the belief that entrepreneurs are core to economic growth. Entrepreneurs are nominated by local hubs from around the world, with only eight per cent of nominees accepted onto the programme.
Cohort 20 comprises 16 founders, and includes four African entrepreneurs: Nigeria’s online automated savings platform Piggybank; Pezesha – the Kenya-based micro-lending place for Africa; South African tradesman review and booking platform Kandua; and FitFeet – a footwear manufacturing social enterprise operating in Uganda.
The 16 selected founders will live and work together for two weeks, participating in an intensive programme of workshops, speaker sessions, pitch training, mentorship and peer to peer feedback. The entrepreneurs will also connect with top Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, investors, thought leaders, and executives in an open and off-the-record environment.
The programme culminates in a Startup Showcase on December 7 – register here to attend – with startups to pitch live to an audience of Silicon Valley investors, potential corporate partners, and tech leaders.
“The entrepreneurial journey can be extremely challenging and frustrating, and getting it right almost always requires lots of trial and error before all the pieces align,” said Fadi Bishara, founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Blackbox Connect.
“To feed courage and nurture persistence, entrepreneurs need more than patient capital — they need allies. They need tribes of people who believe in them. I’m proud that we’ve been able to play a role in providing that support for so many founders over the past six years, and we’re incredibly grateful to have Google for Entrepreneurs as our partner in that effort.”
Cohort 20 also marks the tenth round of the programme powered by Google for Entrepreneurs.
“We’re incredibly proud to have partnered with Blackbox Connect over the past 10 cycles. The programme has provided an invaluable opportunity for startups across our partner network to experience the best Silicon Valley has to offer, and to build global companies from day one. This cohort of founders represents the top talent from all corners of the world, and we are thrilled to welcome them to the Bay Area and mark the 20th cycle of Blackbox Connect,” said Mary Grove, director of Google for Entrepreneurs.