The application window for Google’s first Middle East and North Africa (MENA) startup program is now open.
Announced earlier in October as part of its “Grow Stronger with Google” regional program, “Google for Startups Accelerator: MENA” is a three-month digital accelerator program for seed to series A technology startups based in the region.
The first group will include 10-15 selected MENA-headquartered startups from Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tunisia, Palestine, United Arab Emirates and Yemen. The program will run virtually starting January 2021.
The application window for the program will remain open until Dec. 31, 2020. Selected startups will be announced in January 2021.
In order to be eligible, startups must be based in the MENA region and should have already raised seed funding. Google will consider the problem the tech startup is trying to solve, how it creates value for users and how it addresses a real challenge for their home city, country or the MENA region broadly. Further, Google looks at whether the startup aims to use artificial intelligence or machine learning technology in their product, service or operations to help solve current business challenges and successfully scale in the long run.
Selected startup founders will outline top challenges they face, and will then be paired with relevant experts from Google and the industry to solve them. Participating startups will also receive mentorship on both technical and business challenges as well as workshops covering machine learning technologies, product design/UX, customer acquisition, and leadership development for founders.
Salim Abid, Google’s regional lead of developer ecosystem in MENA, said: “The MENA region is rich in homegrown entrepreneurs which during the pandemic have stepped up to solve for unexpected challenges with innovative technology and resilience. I’m thrilled to announce that the application window for the first ‘Google for Startups Accelerator’ in MENA is now open, and looking forward to working with the next innovators.”
So far, the program has helped over 20 startups globally.