Google has launched its first Developer Space in Africa, in Lagos, Nigeria.
The Google Developer Space would serve as a hub for Google Launchpad Accelerator Africa and can be used by members of the Africa tech community, free of charge.
In an email sent to benjamindada.com, Taiwo Kola-Ogunlade, Communications and Public Affairs Manager for Google in West Africa, said, "The space may not serve as a full-time office to enable us reach and support more users, but during the Launchpad Accelerator bootcamps, startups [participating in the programme] have full-time exclusive access to the space and dedicated workstations."
Alumni, mentors and Google deverloper experts can use the space for their office hours, trainings, hot desks, open house, and similar client engagements. Third-party groups can also host their tech-related activities such as hackathons, digital trainings, study jams, code labs, startup bootcamps, and mentor sessions at the Space free of charge.
The Google Developer Space was launched in partnership with Impact Hub and as such, it is co-located with the Hub in Ikoyi, Lagos. It was also designed by Spacefinish, the same design and innovation company that designed the Google Nigeria Office.
Launched in September 2017 by the late Bolaji Finnih and Solape Hammond, Impact Hub Lagos is part of the global Impact Hub community—the world's largest network of entrepreneurial communities with presence in over 50 countries across five continents.
Related Article: Microsoft opens Africa Developement Centre in Nigeria and Kenya
Impact Hub Lagos was the 81st hub to join the global Impact Hub network and the second Impact Hub launched in West Africa.
Taiwo Kola-Ogunlade said for third-party groups to use the Developer Space, they would need to contact a Google Person of Contact (POC) or apply to host their event directly by signing up.
Speaking with benjamindada.com, Bakare Emmanuel—a DevOps Engineer at Deimos ML, said, "Impact Hub Lagos is the most user-friendly space I've been to with an indoor balcony and opposing rooms all within the same building."
I've been there twice now and I'd definitely resort to getting more accustomed to the environment as need drives such. I also run the Google Cloud community for Lagos and let's just say the hub provides the right space for impacting knowledge during cloud study sessions.
The launch of Google Developer Space has been long time coming. Three years ago, Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google and Alphabet—the holding company for Google's properties and subsidiaries, visited Nigeria for the inaugural Google Nigeria event.
During his first visit in 2017, Sundar announced the launch of the Launchpad Accelerator Africa and made a commitment to support African entrepreneurs.
The Head of Operations | Launchpad Accelerator Africa, Onajite Emerhor, said the Developer Space is a realization of the commitments made in 2017. She said, "It will provide a hub where entrepreneurs, developers, mentors, investors can connect and collaborate with each other."
Starting today, members of the African tech community can use this Space for free. In addition to housing Google Launchpad Accelerator Africa, the Space will support developer meetups, training, experts office hours, women in tech events, startup programs (outside of Launchpad), partner events that support the wider entrepreneur and developer ecosystem, as well as Google initiatives for empowering people through digital skills training.
Since the Launchpad Accelerator Africa programme started in 2018, 47 startups from 17 African countries have participated, namely: Algeria, Botswana, Cameroon, Côte D'Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.
Onajite said the launch of the Developer Space demonstrates Google's unwavering commitment to the Sub-Saharan African startup and developer ecosystems. "As part of our support for developers, we run programmes such as Google Developer Groups and Women Techmakers", she said.
Every year, since 2017, the Google Developer Group (GDG) in Lagos has organised the largest developer conference in Africa. There are 173 active GDGs and 135 Developer Student Clubs (DSCs) across the continent.
Last year, another global tech giant, Microsoft launched Africa Development Centre in Nigeria and Kenya. The centres would empower African developers to build innovative solutions across different sectors, including healthcare, agriculture, finance and human-centric automation.
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