African Joint Hub Fund Programme Takes Off

January 20, 2015

Four tech innovation hubs in Africa were recently awarded grants by The DOEN Foundation, Hivos Foundation and Indigo Trust in an initiative aimed at catalysing the continent’s technology start-up ecosystem.

The three organisations established a Joint Hub Fund Programme worth 373,000 euros to fund entrepreneurs with an aim to increase the quality and quantity of applications being developed in African countries. A key objective of the Fund is to support technology hubs in Africa that enable aspiring entrepreneurs with a social mission to develop their business plan, identify potential investors and turn ideas into reality.

The four technology hubs that will receive a grant for an initial one year-long period include ActivSpaces in Cameroon, HiveColab in Uganda, iSpace in Ghana and KINU in Tanzania. Through the grants, the tech hubs will be expected to facilitate collaboration among entrepreneurs and the creation of applications and solutions that solve societal challenges.

“The DOEN Foundation believes in a green, creative and inclusive society because the world is full of committed entrepreneurs eager to develop sustainable, cultural and socially-engaged initiatives. With the grants provided in this collaboration of the Joint Hub Fund Programme, we hope to give a positive boost to social entrepreneurship in Africa,” said Nina Tellegen, CEO of the DOEN Foundation.

“With this partnership, we hope to boost the development of tech ecosystems in Africa, and by supporting young innovators, entrepreneurs and technologists, we are also playing an important part in promoting the growth of the continent,” said Tanya Lubbers, Director of the Hivos Regional Office in Southern Africa.

Loren Treisman, Executive of Indigo Trust, said that technology is integral in addressing some of the challenges in Africa.

“The Indigo Trust has been providing grants to technology innovation hubs across the continent since 2011. We believe that the best solutions to Africa’s challenges will be devised within the continent. Tech hubs can have a catalytic effect on the number and quality of products and projects being devised in-country. They provide state-of-the-art facilities, events, mentorship and training, while creating a collaborative, creative work environment where innovation can thrive,” said Treisman.

“While technology isn’t a panacea for all social problems, it has the potential to enable critical information to reach people at a cost and scale never before possible. We believe that if people have the ability to access, create and share information, then they are empowered to make changes in their own lives and communities.”

Josiah Eyison, Executive Director of iSpace, said the fund will be key in growing the tech ecosystem in Ghana.

“The Tech Fund will be immensely helpful for the operations and programming of iSpace. The startup ecosystem in Ghana is still relatively new, making iSpace a hub for innovation, technology, creativity and networking,” said Eyison.

“iSpace is grateful for the Tech Fund, which will help us provide programming, events, training, speaker series, maker-spaces, reliable internet and a well maintained space to execute our goals for the coming year,” he concluded.