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Google launches an accelerator for sustainability startups

The program is to help startups working on projects related to sustainability and solving social problems. The announcement comes as the search giant faces blowback from its employees over its climate change policies. 

Kate Brandt during the press conference in Lisbon

On Tuesday Kate Brandt,
Google Chief Sustainability Officer announced in Lisbon during the Web Summit tech press conference,  that the tech giant is launching the Google for Startups Accelerator which focuses on sustainable development goals. She noted that the social impact startups will work towards creating a healthier and more sustainable future.

The accelerator will provides access to training, products and technical support. Founders of selected startups will work with Google engineers and receive mentoring from over 20 teams at Google, as well as outside experts and local mentors.

Startups will be selected based on the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, which includes poverty, inequality, climate, environmental degradation, prosperity, and peace and justice.

The program won’t provide funding to startups, but will introduce entrepreneurs to potential investors, Brandt said.

Applications will open for startups across Europe, the Middle East and Africa in the next few weeks and eight to ten startups will take part in a six months accelerator program in early 2020. A second cohort will be selected later in the year.

The launch comes a day after more than 1,000 Google employees signed an open letter to CFO Ruth Porat demanding action on issues related to climate change.

The 1,000 Google employees letter

Their letter to Ruth Porat includes that Google should forgo and cancel contracts that support or accelerate the extraction of fossil fuels, as well as ban funding people or groups, including lobbyists and politicians, who deny climate change or delay solutions and also not to collaborate with those who harm refugees or people affected by climate change.

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