Technology innovation hubs are mushrooming across Africa and are playing a central role in the fledgling tech and entrepreneurial scenes in Africa.
With so many innovation hubs emerging, it seems timely to support an initiative which will facilitate collaboration between these hubs. We are pleased to announce that Hivos and the Indigo Trust have decided to co-fund AfriLabs. The Indigo Trust has awarded 25,000 Euros for this purpose and Hivos has match-funded this amount.
These “islands of innovation” are being established to foster and promote local technological innovation. The hubs serve as incubators, meeting places for the local technology community as well as points of knowledge exchange. Their purpose is to encourage collaboration and act as physical nexus points between investors, academia, various technology communities, technology companies, and the wider private sector.
Technologies can contribute to huge social changes within society. Mobile banking solutions have created the opportunity for poor people to transfer money in at low cost, and election monitoring software has enabled citizens to contribute to fair and transparent election processes. Often these technology solutions are developed and marketed through local ICT entrepreneurs.
Hivos wants to increase the number of ICT entrepreneurs and therefore supports ICT incubator spaces that enable aspiring ICT entrepreneurs with a social mission to develop their business plan, identify potential investors and turn ideas into reality.
Hivos supports initiatives such as AfriLabs because tech hubs serve as accessible open space platforms for bringing together technologists, investors, tech companies and hackers in the area. Each lab is a tech community facility with a focus on young entrepreneurs, web and mobile phone programmers, designers and researchers.