Tech hubs are communities that fosters innovation for technology startup companies. They provide opportunities for startups to meet potential investors and funders while providing a platform for business networking. They play an important role in building entrepreneurial ecosystems.
Innovation is production, assimilation, and exploitation of and idea that affects the way individuals go about their day-to-day activities in a positive.
It involves renewal and enlargement of products, services, and markets, development of new methods of production; and the establishment of new management systems.
It is both a process and an outcome. Innovation leads to higher productivity which in turn leads to economic growth, this fact is precisely why tech hubs are important to the African society.
Tech hubs in Africa have grown consistently over recent years, and now number over 600. The discourse around tech hubs in Africa has been characterized by an optimistic and promising view.
International organizations, venture capitalists and other relevant actors have placed a lot of attention into these tech hubs, thus promoting entrepreneurship, encouraging people to set up their own start-ups and work towards their own development.
This has ultimately led to a rise in the amount of startups that have sprung up in the Africa ecosystem in recent years with innovative ideas and disruptive solutions.
From Co-Creation Hub in Lagos Nigeria to Flat6Labs(which doubles as an accelerator and a vc fund) in Egypt what all these hubs have in common is that they foster a community of technologically forward-thinking people, providing them with tools they can use to start collaborating and innovating while emphasize networking and community-building. Notable startup like BugdIt and swift vee have been successfully incubated at such hubs.
Tech hubs do not come without their own accompanying challenges, which have in one way or the order led the the failure of some tech hubs and or the startups they try to incubate. Some of these challenges related with tech hubs are examined below.
Hubs face the challenge of deciding between what they want to do and whom they want to serve, and what funding is available for what purpose.
A lot hubs emerge from a desire to create a positive impact in thier immediate society, although how that impact is defined/delivered, and who receives it, varies.
This means that many hubs invest in ecosystem-building activities, such as training and mentoring, which are critical to executing their missions, but don’t generate the needed revenue to keep the hub running.
It has been a advised that tech hubs must act like startups if they must be sustainable In the long run.
Lack of Metrics to track success
Innovation labs that don’t have metrics to track success are set up to fail,Yes innovators need the space to iterate over and incubate ideas.
Yet even if your hub is a cost centre with a mandate to experiment over the long term, some type of return, financial or otherwise, needs to be specified in advance and tracked over time.
In conclusion tech hubs carry the potential to revolutionize the Africa continent as whole, by providing opportunities for young African entrepreneurs to develop and incubate their ideas under favorable conditions.
There is no one size fits all shoe for setting up tech hubs, but care should be taken in developing sustainable models when setting up said hubs with due considerations given to needs, size and financial strength.