iHub has embraced the principles of open innovation by nurturing an enabling environmentand a collaborative space where a community of digital and technology entrepreneurs can grow andshare ideas. Through iHub, the technology community, industry, academia and investors can meet, share ideas and collaborate. In turn they transform their ideas into actions. Through a culture of open innovation, a paradigm of discovery of new knowledge and dissemination of work that can be used to develop new innovations is created. The dynamic synergy created by these interactions is what fuels the community as a whole.
Serving the community has always been the main objective of the iHub and we cannot do it alone. Over the last 8 years we have worked with a diverse group of partners who share a common mission to build market relevant solutions. We would therefore like to thank all the partners and acknowledge the important role that they play in the ecosystem.
Last year we partnered with corporate organizations and development agencies such as; Seacom, Safaricom, Google, Facebook, Google for entrepreneurs, Oracle, Spider, World Bank, ADESO, Mastercard, Robomaker, MAVC, SIDA, Gates Foundation among others.
These partners have in their individual ways brought great value to the table and have enabled the iHub community to grow their skills and strategically build businesses with new technologies.
Here is how our partners are making a difference in the ecosystem;
Seacom and Safaricom
Internet connectivity is a core part in accelerating startups communications andshare digital information. Seacom, has been providing iHub with free, high-speed internet, helping to accelerate collaborations among our members. Safaricom also provides us a link for added redundancy
Google and Google for Entrepreneurs
Google continues to provide our community access to Google resources and experts. The GfE network has been invaluable in allowing us to learn best practices from communities of entrepreneurs around the world.
Oracle and Facebook
Over the past couple of years, we have been working with Oracle and Facebook to grow the number of software developers in the tech community through co-creative activities such as hackathons, showcase events, developer community meetups, office hours as well as drumming up interest in software development.
Making all Voices Count (MAVC)
In March 2016, the iHub joined forces with Making All Voices Count to foster stakeholder collaborations and scale existing innovations, particularly those in service delivery. Through this partnership, we have initiated collaborative engagements that have facilitate deeper relationships among various ecosystem players, conduct outreach activities to support the development of innovation and entrepreneurship capacity at county level and scale existing technology innovations.
ADESO and MasterCard
In partnership with ADESO and MasterCard, we are running ‘The Disasters and Emergencies Preparedness Programme (DEPP)’ Innovation Labs in Garissa and Marsabit counties. The project has seen two innovation labs “Maarifa Kona” setup in the counties to provide the disaster-prone communities with resources and services to innovate solutions to better prepare for, mitigate and address the impacts of drought.
Last year, we started the LittleBits at iHub program in partnership with Robomaker. The program provides a maker space to inspire the young people aged 6-15 years to play, make, and create. Using the littleBits platform, kids have designed remote controlled cars, solar system light switches, home alarm systems, a window cleaner using electronic components, art and crafts among others. This year we’ve introduced Art classes and software classes. If you have a kid who might be interested in the program, read on here.
In partnership with Swedish Program for ICTs in Developing Regions (SPIDER), we have been hosting ICT4Social Innovation annually since 2015. This conference is a gathering of the best social innovators from African businesses, public sector, civil society, technical experts and academia. The aim of the conference is to highlight African ICT solutions that create better education, health and transparency across the continent through a truly active ICT4SI Network in the years to come. This network is specifically targeted to innovators working in the Education, Health and Transparency sectors.
The iHub in collaboration with The World Bank launched Traction Camp accelerator program in 2016 to support growth oriented startups with the knowledge, capital and markets they need to grow their enterprises. So far, the program has supported 16 high growth ventures from five countries in Eastern Africa namely; Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda and Ethiopia in the first cycle. Some of the members from cohort one are currently fundraising, with some indicating that they are almost closing deals while others have expanded into new markets. A number of the startups have reported growth in their sales revenues and growing their teams. Cohort 2 kicked off last month with 27 startups participating in the program.
The iHub has been working with Ford Foundation to further Internet Freedom progress in Kenya. The project seeks to enhance internet freedom especially for women, by taking a closer look at hyper visible profiles; bloggers, journalists, political aspirants and activists who use their online platforms to further their work. Though the project, we seek not only to surface insights, but also to offer practical recommendations that we can in-turn support in their implementation. The preliminary findings indicate a highly visible apparent need to provide capacity building in the area of navigating online spaces, especially for particular demographics who are more vulnerable online such as women and minors who are more vulnerable online.
Last year through the ICT4Dem Network, facilitated by CIPESA (The Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa) and iHub sought to explore the extent to which the government of Kenya is using Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to provide services. For more information on the project and the findings, read here, here and here.
We are looking forward to building new relationships and fostering the current ones. We strongly believe that by collaborating with global and local partners, we will create relevant and scalable solutions and services that address the unique opportunities and challenges of our continent.
We have several new opportunities for collaboration this year. Some of these projects are;
PIVOT East competition aims to facilitate discovery and nurturing of the next wave of high potential innovations into sustainable business, ensuring that digital innovations are high in the agenda of regional, governments, corporates and development agencies for amplified development impact and to raise the quality of startups in the region.
DevCraft is a 2 day event curated by the iHub Consultancy team with a goal to bring together bright minds involved in the software development space to give talks and workshops. The aim of these sessions is to raise the quality of the software craft in Kenya through providing access to a community that champions good software development practices.
Kids Programs are aimed for kids and teens who are drawn to and interested in crafting, hacking, discovering and tinkering. The programs are envisioned and designed to provide an engaging platform on which children and teens can interactively learn, explore and build; spurring them to understand the world around them, analogue and digital. This exposure and tutelage will then go on to help them build skills in design/creativity, critical & systems thinking, collaboration and self-confidence.
To learn more about our work and opportunities to engage, please email Nekesa at [email protected]