Black and Brilliant & Codecademy launch Africa based AI Accelerator

AI concept drawing used for AI accelerator

Codecademy, the online learning platform for technical skills is partnering with The Black and Brilliant Advocacy Network to launch an Applied Artificial Intelligence accelerator and mentorship program in Africa. After launching their first accelerator together in 2021, the organisations are teaming up again to bring the program to Africa and empower a new generation of tech talent in the region.

Combining upskilling and mentorship, the Codecademy and Black and Brilliant program will focus on both the hard and soft skills needed to build successful careers in AI. Over the course of 10 weeks, participants will master the fundamentals of data science, data engineering and programming using Codecademy’s self-guided, hands-on learning platform. Participants will also work with a group of coaches and mentors from companies like Shopify, Google and Etsy to explore topics like user experience, ethics and bias, and the business of AI.

The global artificial intelligence market size was valued at $62.35 billion in 2020 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 40.2% from 2021 to 2028.

“As AI becomes more powerful, it’s imperative that people of all backgrounds, nationalities, races, and genders have the opportunity to leverage that power – so that they can make an impact on their communities and the world at large,” said Zach Sims, co-founder and CEO of Codecademy. “Through education and mentorship, our goal is to empower a new generation of global leaders in AI, equipping them with the skills they need to solve problems and incite change through technology.”

Founded by husband-and-wife-team Tony Effik and Perky Noah-Effik, Black and Brilliant is an advocacy group focused on initiatives to diversify workforces and streamline talent pipelines for BIPOC communities. After meeting Codecademy’s CEO Zach Sims at an event with the United Nations last year, the two founders immediately saw an opportunity to work together given their organizations’ shared mission to democratize career opportunities in technology.

“Growing up in the UK and Nigeria, and even now, I continue to meet brilliant Africans with the potential to play a role in the global digital economy,” said Tony Effik, Co-Founder of Black and Brilliant and Managing Director at Google. “We decided with Codecademy to coalesce around the idea of helping a foundational group leapfrog to the most current technology. Our hope is that this group helps the next cohort, and so on. We are grateful for Codecademy and how its platform democratizes learning and makes this all possible.”

As artificial intelligence becomes a more powerful and influential technology, it has the potential to be a transformative force in Africa — helping to reduce inequality, alleviate poverty and improve access to public services like health and education. Limited access to AI education, however, remains a barrier to ensuring the impact of AI is felt throughout African societies. Codecademy and Black and Brilliant’s accelerator program aims to equip local technologists with the skills they need to lead careers in AI and continue driving innovation in the region.

Applications for the Codecademy and Black and Brilliant Applied Artificial Intelligence program opened on 1 March 2022. For more details about the program and how to apply, please visit here.

Read more: IBM launches Sustainability Accelerator

Featured image by kras99 on Adobe Stock



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