ICT Hubs: Assessing the Impact of African ICT Hubs to the Entrepreneurs

By Hilda Moraa
  Published 27 Jan 2012
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Over the past few months, iHub research has been developing a framework around their in-house ICT Hubs project to initiate a research series that will dis-aggregate the unique factors that make up ICT hubs/labs model in Africa (Afrilabs). The series will also have a special focus on the role of ICT hubs in fostering innovative entrepreneurship.

Opportunities are opening up for young people with high tech skills such as software engineering, design, and development. Many of these skills are being nurtured in the Information Communication (ICT) hubs, where technology-oriented individuals gather and collaborate. Unfortunately, little inquiry has been done to understand the various factors which make up an ICT hub model and how such factors are useful to the entrepreneurs in the space. Most important, there has been little assessment of how African hubs/labs have been of significance to the different categories of members in the space. These categories of members will vary in the different Hubs used in this study.

The study aims to understand the following questions:

1. What impact does the hub have on the individual’s development in the different membership categories?

2. What impact does the hub have on the individual’s start-up?

3. What is the significance of the hub community to the individual start-up?

4. What are the most important factors which makes the members continue to use the space?

The main objective of the project is to:

1) Study what factors make up the ICT Hubs model;

2) Understand the entrepreneurs/start-ups in the ICT Hubs through a representative sample size representing the different membership tiers;

3) Assess the impact of the Hub based on the different memberships categories.

iHub Research will use mixed-methods to assess the impact of hubs on members. Qualitative and quantitative methods will be used including: direct observation, focus-group discussions, and semi-structured interviews in 15 Hubs/Labs around Africa.Based on the data collected through focus group discussions, workshop findings, and e-survey results, a visual report will be produced that illustrates the impact of the hubs on the members. In the following months, iHub Research will regularly report on this project’s progress project through this blog. We always welcome your comments and support!

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