Africa to Silicon Valley (A2SV), an Addis Ababa-based Foundation that nurtures tech talent has announced that it has received funding from Google.
Google’s funding will allow A2SV, which has been operating out of Addis Ababa University, to establish a permanent office in Ethiopia and hire more heads of education and a product manager.
The funds will also be used to expand A2SV’s presence to Ghana and upskill 330 more students in Ethiopia and Ghana over the next two years, building a pool of highly trained, industry-ready candidates who have experience with real-life projects.
A2SV, which started operations in Ethiopia in 2019, upskills high-potential university students and connects them with software engineering opportunities at top companies. The program empowers students to work on real-world problems and make meaningful impacts in their communities, thus also bridging the access gap between Africa and the tech world.
A2SV has a rigorous training program that primes candidates for success in interviews with leading tech companies. This training covers different aspects like algorithms and data structures, soft skills, and experience with real-life projects. A2SV partnered with Addis Ababa University to train the first 22-person cohort of students in 2020, and the second 33-person cohort in 2021.
After two years, A2SV extended the partnership to Addis Ababa Science and Technology University. Currently, A2SV is training the third 109-person cohort in the two universities, within three groups.
The organization’s model has proved to be rewarding. A high percentage of students from the first two cohorts passed internship or full-time employment interviews and received offers from multinational tech companies, including Google.
“Aspiring software developers in Africa lack access to experienced mentors and job opportunities. Academic education fails to equip them with the skills they need in real-world contexts. We address this gap through our rigorous training program comprising daily classes, bootcamps, and real-life projects. We have already received the first tranche of the funding,” said Emre Varol, Founder & Head of Execution, at A2SV.
According to a Korn Ferry report, it is estimated that by 2030, there will be a global shortage of over 85 million tech workers. Another report from the IFC projects that 60% of the population in Africa will be under 24 by 2025 and Africa’s internet economy has the potential to grow to $180 billion by 2025. Africa could play a key role in solving the global shortage of tech talent, provided tech students there get the right support, training and job opportunities.
Google partners with industry, governments, universities, and employers to help address the shortage of tech talent while supporting underserved communities. In 2017, Google committed to train 10 million Africans in digital skills. So far, Google has certified more than 80,000 developers from Africa and is planning to scale this up by partnering with organizations like A2SV Foundation.
Jeff Dean, Senior Vice President of Google Research, added, “A2SV’s program works with students for a year and gives them additional depth and education in software engineering, algorithms, and working in software teams to build end-to-end products. The students I’ve met from A2SV are really great, and Google has hired quite a few graduates of the program.”