I-Tech in Africa: AfriLabs

Presenting one of the most promising projects on I-Tech in Africa:

From the AfriLabs site:

...On March 3rd 2010, founders from several established African tech incubators and open collaboration spaces @HiveColab @iHub @NaiLab @Bantalabs and @ActivSpaces came together for the iHub launch in Nairobi. The meeting hosted by NaiLab (an iHub neighbor) made clear that each of the labs shares in a common vision to promote technology as a platform for entrepreneurship on the continent. The labs have a lot to gain by working together and it was in this thinking that AfriLabs was born.

As a network organization, AfriLabs seeks to build on this common vision and further promote the growth and development of the African technology sector. By working together the labs improve their chances of success, generating more success stories and decent work for young Africans, both as a means of self-employment and as job creation for others.

Already members of Afrilabs have come together successfully in their bid to implement the U.S. Department of State sponsored contest Apps4Africa. AfriLabs members have also worked to establish the Hive Colab as Kampala’s leading open collaboration space and successfully tendered to host the infoDev sponsored mobile apps lab in East Africa. AfriLabs by virtue of its on-the-ground engagement and local ownership is uniquely positioned to be a catalyst for the sector.

AfriLabs will build on this early success and from the ground up, the entrepreneurs using the spaces and the labs that service them set the mandate. This ensures Afrilabs remains grounded by the labs knee deep in the business and builds on the experience in each of their localities (initially Kenya, Uganda and Cameroon). AfriLabs sets out with the following objectives:

1 Discover synergies between the labs
2 Share best practices and help new organizations emerge
3 Enhance visibility of the network and her actors, share success stories
4 Organize networking events and facilitate other exchanges, both online and offline
5 Secure resources for the network by establishing a revolving fund
6 Generally promote developments in this space and explore other common interests.
Want to connect? Please use the contact form, mail us at info [at] afrilabs.com or follow @Afrilabs on Twitter.

African I-Labs inside AfriLabs 

ActivSpaces is a unique community / collaboration space in Cameroon for startups, freelancers, designers, entrepreneurs (esp. internet entrepreneurs) and independent thinkers. We provide not only a great space to work but also opportunities to interact with other like-minded individuals. We’re interested in fostering the growth of an indigenous, high-tech startup sector here in Cameroon. We think the best way to do this is to bring people with unique capabilities together in an environment that helps them do what they do best. Our culture encourages collaboration and idea sharing, generates great learning experience for everyone and creates opportunities for people with complementary skills and experience to work together for the benefit of the community.

ActivSpaces believes there are six key elements to ensure a creative work environment for freelancers and start-ups: collaboration, openness, community, accessibility, sustainability and support.

Memberships are available at various levels at no cost to individuals. Drop-in opportunities are also possible so prospective users can have a taste of our stimulating environment.

Website: http://activspaces.com/
RSS feed: http://activspaces.com/feed/
Twitter name: ActivSpaces
Location: Buea, Cameroon

Bantalabs is committed to empowering people and investing in the community. It is our explicit aim to set up (nearly) free open source training projects across Senegal to introduce people to the wealth of free and open source software that is readily available to them.

Aside from attending and speaking at many international drupal events we're developing a Drupal training program for graduates and gap year students. In association with the Université Gaston Berger (Saint Louis, Senegal) and Université Cheikh Anta Diop (Dakar, Senegal) two to five students will complete their Information Science internship as part of our Senegalese development team each semester.

Website: http://bantalabs.com
RSS feed: http://bantalabs.com/rss.xml
Twitter name: bantalabs

Location: Saint Louis, Senegal

Hive Colab is an open, collaborative, community owned, work environment for young tech entrepreneurs to focus on projects, access the internet, have a quiet professional environment to develop their ideas in, hold events and generally collaborate. Something very similar to what our friends are doing with the iHub in Nairobi.

It will be a space for nascent application developers to register as freelancers, if they are looking for paying projects that people need to be done around the world. An exclusive list of project and clients available through the pan-African consortium of incubators, AfriLabs. Participant projects will remain wholly owned by their creators, although there there will be access to a network of investors looking to cherry pick some of the more promising ideas for investment, also through AfriLabs.

The only requirement to membership, is that applicants actually be working on projects, and thereafter they must be able to show progress on their ideas to retain membership. This is to keep energy high and to favour people who remain productive. There will be other types of memberships available to be announced soon.

Website: http://hivecolab.com/
RSS feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/appfrica
Twitter name: hivecolab
Location: Kampala, Uganda

The *iHub_, Nairobi’s Innovation Hub for the technology community, is an open space for the technologists, investors, tech companies and hackers in the area. This space is a tech community facility with a focus on young entrepreneurs, web and mobile phone programmers, designers and researchers. It is part open community workspace (coworking), part vector for investors and VCs and part incubator.

iHub is an open innovation space with a 20MB internet connection from Zuku, hardwired and Wi-Fi, and it’s freely available to any tech person in Nairobi to use once they become a green member .

It is a paradigm shift towards the areas where technology approaches a barrier, and new technologies emerge to cross it. This is achieved through the idea of Open Innovation which is the process of combining internal and external ideas as well as internal and external paths to market to advance the development of new technologies.

The concept of the *iHub_ is a first of kind in Kenya and there are great expectations that it will spur a revolution in the technology products and services space with its core focus to give the tech community a community facility where they can bring their ideas to life.

*iHub_ will be a gallery of technologies that will emerge to revolutionize the Kenyan Business scene.

Data connectivity is the most important aspect of the iHub, but after that comes a fresh design and an atmosphere that is conducive to techies getting cool stuff done.

Finally, we’re putting our networks into place to give special access to the entrepreneurs and startups who need space to meet with VCs, seed funders and local businesses. We’re trying to create the place where seeds are planted and are easily found by the people with money to help them grow.

Website: http://ihub.co.ke
RSS feed: http://www.ihub.co.ke/blog/feed
Twitter name: iHubNairobi
Location: Nairobi, Kenya
The NAILAB is an ICT Business Incubation Laboratory. NAILAB, shortened from Nairobi Incubation Laboratory, incubates ICT – based or ICT – heavy start-ups and SMEs.

The NAILAB offers an incubation platform to help young entrepreneurs to concentrate on building a business structure around their innovations without the need of a high initial capital to secure office space and the accompanying services.

The reasoning behind the creation of these LABS is simple. We believe that by concentrating technology innovators that are building businesses in Africa in specific locations, we make it easier and more likely for financiers such as venture capitalists, angel investors or profit / non-profit driven corporations to find them and their products and services.

Website: http://nailab.co.ke/
RSS feed: http://www.ilab.co.ke/?feed=rss2
Twitter name: NaiLabNairobi
Location: Nairobi, Kenya
Copyright © AfriLabs.com

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Antumi Toasijé

Antumi Toasijé
Doctor en Historia, Cultura y Pensamiento