Google Announces First African Tech Incubator

A couple months back, I responded to a NY Times article critical of with what I hoped was one idea for an initiative that would allow the search giant's foundation to better leverage its considerable assets. Basically, I suggested that they help support technology & innovation hubs in developing countries similar to the iHub in Nairobi, bringing Google's financial, personel, and convening power to support bottom-up, local innovation.

Well, the Googlers have been working on such a project all along, and today announced Umbono, a new Google-supported technology incubator based in Cape Town, South Africa.  From the announcement at the Google Africa blog, which invites South African tech teams to apply to participate in the program.  From the blog:

Bringing together seed capital, Google mentorship, ‘Angel’ investors, local tech stars, entrepreneurs and business leaders, the Umbono program will help selected internet or mobile-focused start-up teams transform their ideas into companies. As part of its goal to strengthen the web ecosystem across Africa, Google hopes that Umbono will further encourage the growth of the developer community and support the country’s already flourishing tech sector.

It sounds like a great idea and a great project, and I look forward to seeing the innovation that comes out of Umbono.