21 June 2019


Google News Initiative (GNI) Innovation Challenge launches Africa

Google announced that the Google News Initiative (GNI) Innovation Challenge is open for application submissions in the Middle East, Africa and Turkey.

Through the Google News Initiative (GNI) Innovation Challenge, Google aims to spread knowledge to make life better for everyone. Google CEO Sundar Pichai, explained:

   “It’s at the heart of Google’s mission. It’s also the mission of publishers and journalists. Put simply, our futures are tied together.”

Moreover, Google believes that quality journalism matters, that financial stability requires innovation, that the digital news ecosystem should remain open to publishers and consumers and that new technology presents new opportunities.

Apart from Google’s training centre, which offers more than 40 lessons on Google products and tools, the GNI aims to work with the news industry “to help journalism thrive in the digital age.”

Google also confirmed in a press release that the GNI would be accepting proposals for projects from news organisations of every size to explore new business models.

Who may apply?

Traditional publishers, news startups and associations that aim to build innovative digital media projects are all eligible to apply. However, only online applications in English will be accepted.

Once a panel evaluated the submissions and reviewed it against several criteria, Google will fund selected projects up to $150 000 and will finance up to 70% of the total project cost.

Submissions will close on Monday, 2 September at 23:59 GMT (01:59 South Africa Standard Time).

At the moment, submissions are open to participants from the Middle East, Africa, Turkey, North America, and Latin America. In addition, submissions for Asia-Pacific will open in due course.

The Google News Initiative Innovation Challenge panel

Google’s Project Team and Jury will review applications for the Middle East, Africa and Turkey challenge. The board consists of:

   Head of Communications, MENA: Joyce Baz

   Head of Google News Initiative Innovation Challenge: Ludovic Blecher

   Applicants and Recipients Manager, Google News Initiative: Sarah Hartley

   Head of Global Partnerships, Russia & Israel: Or Liban

   Lead, gTech Professional Services – Emerging Markets: Akbur Ghafour

   Communications manager, South Africa: Mich Atagana

The aim of the GNI

The first Middle East, Africa and Turkey GNI Innovation Challenge will allow everyone to inject new ideas and innovation in the news ecosystem.

Furthermore, Google will focus on creative projects that demonstrate opportunities to increase reader engagement and support the development of new business models.

The Google News Initiative aims to, firstly, elevate and strengthen quality journalism. Secondly, to evolve business models to drive sustainable growth and lastly, to empower organisations through technological innovation.

To start the application process click here