After reading the job description and doing a bit of research, this was one of my first thoughts. Creating a network of African entrepreneurship/innovation hubs solves a big problem for those who support African entrepreneurship. With the launch of AfriLabs, members of the entrepreneurship community will know where to go when they want to find investible businesses, connect with like-minded technologists, provide support services to talented African entrepreneurs, launch new hubs, co-develop events and programs, or just experience a sense of community. Additionally, the hubs and their members will have access to each other, potentially unleashing a powerful exchange of resources and knowledge. However, a poorly-managed network could potentially “get in the way” of real work, imposing structure from above, and disrupting the organic evolution of each hub. Thus, it will be important to balance the opportunity presented by pooled resources with the challenge of maintaining the flexibility and identity of each hub.
This is a very high level overview of what I would do, and what I would prioritize. These are preliminary thoughts that are very open to challenge and discussion.
INTRODUCTION TO AFRILABS:AFRICA WEB GATHERING2.4.13
AfriLabs has 13 hubs in 11 countries across eastern,southern and western Africa. AfriLabs Network 1. ActivSpaces (Cameroon) 2. Bongo Hive (Zambia) 3. Co-Creation Hub (Nigeria) 4. Habaka (Madagascar) 5. Hive Colab (Uganda) 6. Iceaddis (Ethiopia) 7. iHub (Kenya) 8. iLab Liberia 9. MEST (Ghana) 10. NaiLab (Kenya) 11. Ndar Numérique (Senegal) 12. Rlabs (South Africa) 13. Wennovation Hub (Nigeria)
AfriLabs exists to support African techentrepreneurship. AfriLabs launched in 2010 by 5 founding partners: ActivSpaces, Appfrica Labs, iHub, NaiLab, and VC4Africa. AfriLabs exists to support the growth of communities around African technology hubs and to encourage expansion of the network by providing tools and resources for emerging hubs. We do this by providing best practices, mentoring, networking opportunities and other resources for hub managers and high-potential entrepreneurs. As a network, we want to: • understand the landscape of African technology entrepreneurship • identify our highest/best use • work with partners to build the ecosystem Critical
We have core principles that shape who we are andwhat we do… 1 Encourage technology innovation and entrepreneurship in all forms. Promote the creation of African-made technology, with a special 2 focus on the web and mobile sectors. Provide an environment characterized by open collaboration, technical 3 innovation and support for the community at large. Demonstrate commitment to mentorship, networking and forming bonds 4 that will serve as building blocks for a new generation of thinking.
AfriLabs has three primary strategic priorities.
In the coming months, AfriLabs needs to learn, connect, and execute… What do hubs need? What does AfriLabs want to Learn Learn Which programs are effective? achieve?How can stakeholders engage? What does effective implementation look like?What partnerships are useful? AfriLabs AfriLabs What resources are needed?How can hubs work together? Connect Connect Execute Execute In order to link specific activities to our strategic priorities.
Key activities over the next 6-12 months will include… Learn Learn AfriLabs AfriLabs Connect Connect Execute Execute Learn Connect ExecuteUnderstand network needs Create collaboration platform Engage in impactful activitiesSpeak to AfriLabs members Pilot platform for inter-hub Broker new partnershipsSpeak to key stakeholders exchange, knowledge sharing Execute projects such asand potential partners and collaboration virtual incubation pilot withSpeak to potential Bring AfriLabs network infoDevmembers* together for annual meeting Recruit new members @ re:publica Share stories via website, twitter, FB
AfriLabs needs big ideas that can shape the African techecosystem. GOT IDEAS? WE’RE LISTENING! Building a global network
Why join AfriLabs? Here are 3 reasons why you should: 1 2 3
You can apply for membership on the AfriLabs website.Demographic Information: Content questions:Name WorkspaceEmail address Activities in public forumPhone number # events hostedName of lab Staff capacityLab’s website address Support for visiting entrepreneursStreet address Qualified management teamCountry Registered accountsCity Documented success storyDate lab began operations Reason for applyingNumber of registered What you hope to gainaccounts What you can contribute Support for core principles
Applications are reviewed/approved by the Director andthe AfriLabs board. Hub meets requirements? YES NO AfriLabs currently has three tiers of membership, which are under review. Tier 1 New Tier 2 Growing Tier 3 Mature
AfriLabs is committed to building a community that willshape the ecosystem for African techentrepreneurship…So, if you are a/an…. African tech/innovation hub Apply to become an AfriLabs member; leverage AfriLabs expertise to build your hub and support your members Corporate Collaborate with AfriLabs hubs to build the tech community, and engage budding technoproneurs Foundation Support AfriLabs’ activities via operational, program, and resource support Academic institution Create knowledge-sharing partnerships; support ongoing research on ICT hubs and the innovation ecosystem Investor Connect with the network to source and support entrepreneurs Miscellaneous Get in touch! We’re open to new ideas for collaboration