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The GNI Startups Lab Europe is open for applications


The GNI Startups Lab Europe is open for applications

Picture of Linda Vecvagare
Linda Vecvagare — Marketing and Communications Manager
August 02, 2021

A six-month programme specifically tailored to the needs of early stage news organisations in Europe

From global health and climate change issues to misinformation threats: The turbulent past years have highlighted the importance of journalists to inform — and give a voice to — their audiences. This holds true especially for communities who don’t see themselves reflected often in the coverage of major media outlets.

Despite the challenging circumstances, there are innovative digital publishers emerging across Europe who set out to serve local and niche communities. However, many of them face major challenges, and one of the biggest is the quest to achieve financial sustainability.

To support early stage news organisations that do high-quality reporting for local communities, single-topic audiences and/or previously underserved communities, the Google News Initiative (GNI) in partnership with German media innovation hub Media Lab Bayern, and the European Journalism Centre (EJC) are launching the GNI Startups Lab Europe — an intensive six-month accelerator programme.

The programme includes workshops, coaching around product, audience, growth, marketing and business planning, as well as high-profile networking opportunities. Additionally, participants get access to up to €25,000 in grants for running revenue-generating experiments.

Deadline to submit your application: 20 September, 2021

About the programme

The programme has been designed specifically for early stage news organisations producing original content, drawing on our team’s collective expertise. This will be the GNI’s fourth Startups Lab, following runs in Brazil, North American and Hispanoamérica. The European Journalism Centre bring their deep domain knowledge and vast network from across the continent. Media Lab Bayern will leverage their experience as a media innovation hub for more than 200 European media startups over the past 6 years.

The programme is structured into three phases, based on the most important things news organisations should get right to build a sustainable business.

  1. Product and team. Which audience do you serve? Which problems do you solve for them? And do they have the resources inside their team to build an amazing product?
  2. Growing your audience. Do you have the right marketing strategy? How big is the addressable market?
  3. Sustainable business models. How many income streams do you have and what might be unconventional ways to monetize your content? Experimentation will be a key element of this phase, as there is no one-size-fits-all solution.

Who can apply?

The programme is specifically designed to support early stage news organisations that are passionate about reaching underserved communities and want to

  • hone their skills to grow their digital news business
  • make their news products financially and operationally sustainable
  • better understand their audience.

Please consider applying if you:

  • Are based in a European country (EU-Membership not mandatory)
  • Are independently owned and operated and produce original content that is primarily available on a digital platform(s)
  • Have been operating for at least six months, but less than 3 years & earn less than €500,000 per year in gross revenue
  • Can demonstrate some successes on the path to sustainability and focus on one or more of the following:

Public interest journalism

Closing an information gap

Serving a geographic-bound or single subject community

Serving an underserved community

Exploring new ways to deliver and/or monetise information

Read more about the programme here.

Find the full eligibility criteria and information on timelines and the application process here.


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