The Jakarta Post
US technology giant Google has announced that it will admit at least five more Indonesian startups into its Launchpad Accelerator mentoring program, adding to the eight Indonesian startups that are currently taking part in the first phase of the project.
Google will open registrations for the second phase of the program from March 4 until March 31.
Successful candidates will be granted access to Google's training facilities and resources for six months and each will receive US$50,000 in grants. They will also be invited to attend Google's startup boot camp at its headquarters in Silicon Valley for two weeks.
Currently, eight Indonesian startups are taking part in the first phase of the program with sectors ranging from education, workforce development and online matchmaking to digital agriculture and finance technology.
They include Setipe in online matchmaking, Jojonomic in financial technology and Kerjabilitas, a Yogyakarta-based app that helps the disabled find employment.
The startups began their mentorship programs in January and will be regularly evaluated by Google on their progress for the next six months.
The Launchpad Accelerator is specifically targeting companies that already have a product and are primed to scale. Currently, only mobile app startups in Brazil, India and Indonesia are eligible for selection.
Google's developer relations program manager Erica Hanson explained that the company aimed to find startups that were unique and offered something different than the usual crop of digital startups currently operating in the three countries.
'What I see in Indonesian startups, and also startups in the other available countries, is that many of them are mainly product oriented rather than industry oriented,' Erica said during a recent visit to Jakarta.
'The mentorship program that we offer would include pushing these startups to mostly focus on the quality of their product or service.'
Last month, after attending the two-day US-ASEAN Summit, President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo visited Silicon Valley and met with several tech leaders, including Google's CEO Sundar Pichai, and expressed his vision of a $130-billion Indonesian digital economy, along with the flourishing of 1,000 technopreneurs, by the end of 2020.
For the next four years, Hanson said, Google planned to extend its partnership with Indonesian educational institutions, particularly universities, in implementing a special month-long curriculum on developing high-quality Android mobile apps, she said.
It will also translate its Udacity open online courses content into Bahasa Indonesia.
The purpose of all these measures and partnerships, Erica continued, is to help achieve the goal of training up to 100,000 mobile app developers in Indonesia by the year 2020.
'We will also establish the Indonesia Android Kejar, a series of study groups led by a Google-assigned facilitator, which specialize in intensive app development studies,' she said, adding that the program would be held in five major Indonesian cities, namely Jakarta, Bandung, Yogyakarta, Semarang and Surabaya.
Indonesia is also a chosen site for Google to test its Google Loon project, where numerous internet-carrying balloons will float 18.3 km above remote regions to provide high-speed network connections. The project is currently still in the technical testing phase.
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