Kenya’s iHub has been in existence for over six years now and has spurred transformation in the tech ecosystem across the African continent.
Now, the company plans to go beyond “challenging and influencing technology development”. The iHub has been raising funds aimed at scaling up operations, improve its services and ultimately reach sustainability. One way to achieve this is through the launch of its Africa Innovation Fund (AIF).
In its innovative plan, AIF will engage, support and promote the entrepreneurs across Africa. Initially, iHub’s exclusive investment partner seeks US$10 million for a Nairobi pilot with hopes of expanding to other countries in future.
“The role of the iHub going forward is to become the best African support system for ICT focused tech entrepreneurs and individuals who aspire to create great companies that tackle some of our biggest challenges,” said iHub interim chief executive officer (CEO) Kamal Bhattacharya.
According to Bhattacharya, the “fund will be managed outside of the iHub, but key iHub personnel will be engaged to manage the investment pipeline.” Having already established itself as a potential company the iHub believes that this is a terrific “opportunity for investors to work with us and make leapfrogging real.”
New plans for 2017 and beyond
Since its launch, the tech hub has been operating with the ‘free for all model’. In their new program, however, the company will introduce several membership tiers, including floating work desks, dedicated desks, offices, and corporate sponsorships, which will come at a price.
Bhattacharya announced that the cost will be competitive enough, and will aid the iHub to offer relevant services for the community. They also plan to amend how they offer squatting programs to new arrivals in Kenya, the acting CEO said. He added that they “will also provide sponsorship opportunities for corporate members.”
For those who cannot afford to pay, a fellowship program will be launched to support them. In the initial year, up to 20 entrepreneurs will get the support.
“We will introduce a sourcing mechanism in partnerships with other organizations. The program will be managed by the iHub and will have only one requirement for the fellows: give back for one day a week to the community,” Bhattacharya noted.
During its 7th anniversary to be marked on March 2017, the iHub will re-launch in Hurlingham, Nairobi. This is after moving offices from Bishop Magua Centre, Ngong Road- a few kilometers further from the capital city.
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