Republica technology innovation hubs


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This is a presentation which I delivered at Re:Publica Berlin 2013 in the Global Innovation Lounge. The conference focused on Internet and Society and this presentation provides an overview of the technology innovation hubs which we are supporting across Africa, some of the ways in which they are beginning to generate income and some of the fantastic social tech projects coming out of them including in the transparency, education and agriculture space.

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Republica technology innovation hubs

  1. 1. Galvanising and Supporting TechCommunitiesDr Loren Treisman-ExecutiveIndigo Trust
  2. 2. • The Indigo Trust is a UK based grant making foundation that fundstechnology-driven projects to bring about social change in Africa• The Trust focuses mainly on innovation, transparency andcitizen empowerment• We also support innovative tech-driven projects whichsupport development outcomes in any social sector includingthe health, education, human rights and agricultural spheres• We believe that if people have the ability to access, shareand create information, then they are empoweredto make positive changes in their own lives and communities
  3. 3. • The best solutions to Africas challenges will be devised bythose affected by them• Hubs galvanise the tech community, provide high speedinternet, host events & provide training & mentorship toaspiring entrepreneurs• Hubs have a catalytic effect on the number and quality ofsuccessful projects and products which can be developedin-country
  4. 4. • Collaborate, share, partner up• Learn from others• Obtain support, mentorship and training• Access state of the art facilities• Get exposure• Bring together techies and social activists/civil society• Stimulate both economic growth and social change• Attract other investors and supporters• Brand association
  5. 5. Events and Training
  6. 6. East Africa
  7. 7. West Africa
  8. 8. Southern Africa
  9. 9. Can Tech Hubs Achieve Financial Sustainability?• This Sector is still in its infancy and we have to be patient• But some business models are emerging……..
  10. 10. iHub-Nairobi, Kenya
  11. 11. • iHub research• Memberships fees• Renting out the space• Corporate sponsorship and events• Consultancy• Jobs Board-biggest in East Africa• Government and private sector contracts• User experience lab
  12. 12. • Identifying potential groups-setting up new hubs• Establishing partnerships between techies and activists• Core support for early stage hubs• Making connections• Providing consultancy & support• Leveraging support from others• Supporting collaboration betweenhubs• Supporting a new model fordevelopment-more sustainable, private-public-charity
  13. 13. • Providing small, high risk grants to not-for-profit & social enterpriseswhich contribute towards social change at the early stages• Enable entrepreneurs to pilot new ideas, with room for trial & error• Invest in ‘public goods and services’, a category of projects that havetraditionally not attracted private investment due to market failure• Some projects will achieve financial sustainability or make a profit,others need on-going support
  14. 14. Factors We Believe Contribute TowardsSuccessful Projects• Run by passionate individuals• Use available and appropriate technology• Has a clear theory of change• Understand local needs and listen closely to beneficiaries• Takes into account tech capabilities, literacy and language• Project run by technologists and civil society• Two-way interactivity• Sustainable financial model or low operating costs• Takes into account marketing and training needs• Ideally replicable and/or scalable• Interoperable• Transparent and willing to communicate
  15. 15. • The tech hub space is very new-impact will take time• Take into account local context• Achieving financial sustainability remains a challenge• Access to finance for projects remains a challenge• Local capacity remains low in some countries-need forfurther training, incubation and other business support
  16. 16. • Data costs to end users of Apps are often prohibitively high• Mobile operators and ISP providers could assist inreducing these costs if effective business models are ID’d• More focus needs to be placed on the wider regulatory andpolicy environment in order to create a welcoming ecosystem• There is a need for more hubs to spring up both in newAfrican countries and within the same country
  17. 17. Thanks for ListeningAny Questions?Dr Loren Treisman
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