Even though the country’s Naspers is a case study in media’s digital reinvention, South Africa is rarely spoken of when it comes to digital media innovation.
Now Google (NSDQ: GOOG) is hoping to give it a leg up, by launching an incubator programme, Umbono, to support local startups.
Umbono is a six-month programme which gives between $25,000 and $50,000 seed funding, office space in Cape Town plus mentorship to develop and execute on a business plan.
Google has picked four startups to participate…
- LocalSort – A service that helps hotels and hospitality businesses provide local information and recommendations to their guests.
- TaxTim – A digital tax assistant to help South Africans make tax filing season simple.
- Sampleboard – An online editing program which helps designers create digital mood boards in minutes and thus share conceptual, visual ideas with colleagues and clients in the early stages of a creative project.
- Starburst Games – A mobile game company which will be developing collaborative, multi-player games on a unique mobile handset delivery platform.
There is little particularly new-sounding about those ideas, but South African startups themselves will appreciate the help. Google says it has received hundreds of applications.