Google News Initiative (GNI) Innovative Challenge (Apply Now)

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Google has announced another round of Google News Initiative (GNI) Innovative Challenge. The tech giant calls for applications from different media innovators in Africa, the Middle East, and Turkey.

This is the second phase of an initiative created to support journalists, publishers, news startups, and online media platforms.

For the first round that took place in June 2020, 21 projects were chosen across 13 countries to receive $1.93 million in funding. In Africa, winners were from Nigeria, South Africa, CoteD’Ivoire, Ghana, Morocco, and Kenya.

This year, select projects will receive $150,000 in grants and up to 70% of the total project cost. In an official statement, GNI’s Head of Innovation, Ludovic Blecher, states how innovators will retain sole ownership of their projects, without Google claiming any part of it, not in equity or Intellectual Property (IP).

Applications, which open today, February 23, 2021, run till April 12, 2021. For this set, Google is looking out for projects that increase reader engagement and explore new business models for media.

GNI Innovation Challenge is part of Google’s $300 million commitment to help journalism thrive in the digital age.

Last year, the company held the Google Podcasts creator program, where it selected 20 podcasting teams to win $12,000 and a 12-week free virtual training from international industry experts. Winners were selected from 11 countries, including Nigeria and Zambia.

If anything, all these lend credence to the tech giant’s interest in emerging markets, especially Africa. From championing Internet penetration to supporting small and medium-scale enterprises without leaving out initiatives to encourage media independence and innovation.

A notable mention is the Journalism Emergency Relief Fund that was launched in 2020 to help news platforms mitigate the economic effect of the pandemic.

Ironically, this is coming at a time when Nigerian lawmakers are making moves that could intimidate many digital media platforms in the country.

Interested individuals can apply for the GNI Innovative Challenge here.

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