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Google launches second News Initiative Innovation Challenge

Global and renowned tech giant Google has announced the launch of its second Google News Initiative Innovation Challenge (GNI) in Africa, the Middle East, and Turkey.

The initiative aims to recognise new and innovative projects that increase reader engagement and explore new business models in the media space. 

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 Google launches second Google News Initiative Innovation Challenge

Google News Initiative Innovation Challenge (subheading)

Applications for the challenge open on 23 February and close on 12 April 2021. 

Established publishers, online-only players, news startups, publisher consortia, and local industry associations are encouraged to apply for the challenge. Applications can be submitted online .

Selected applicants will receive funding of up to $150 000 and 70% of the total project costs. 

Ludovic Blecher, head of innovation, GNI provides further insight into the funding. 

“Funding is not available for editorial projects, but should instead be focused on reader engagement and exploring new business models. Google does not take any equity or IP in any projects or submissions. We are looking forward to seeing new ideas, projects and big bets come out of the Middle East, Turkey, and Africa, a region rich with talent, potential, and opportunity!”

The first GNI Innovation Challenge resulted in 21 projects in 13 countries receiving funding in 2020. Participants were from Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Turkey, and the UAE. 

According to Google, in South Africa, Daily Maverick developed a “relevancy engine” for small and medium publishers to help them aggregate better reader insights to increase relevancy and increase subscriptions. In addition, Ringier Africa Digital Publishing in Nigeria was awarded funding to increase personalisation across its platform using a blend of prediction, recommendation, and local information pages to increase user engagement. Kenyan awardee Africa Uncensored is aggregating news from members of the public to produce at scale. 

Read more: SA medtech startup receives $8.3-million investment
Read more: SA car tech startup creates automotive marketplace for locals 

Featured image: Benjamin Dada via Unsplash 

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