Open space for technologists, investors, tech companies and hackers in Nairobi.

iHub By Jessica Colaço / September 8, 2010

infoDev announces the successful bidders to host the African Regional Mobile Application Laboratory


infoDev is proud to announce the successful bidders to host the African Regional Mobile Application Laboratory as part of the Government of Finland and Nokia program, Creating Sustainable Businesses in the Knowledge Economy program. The mobile apps labs will be focal points run and used by Africans working to increase the competitiveness of innovative enterprises working in mobile content and applications. There will be one lab each in East and Southern Africa where local companies, technologists and experts can collaborate to develop locally relevant applications that meet user demands and build sustainable businesses.

Dr. Tim Kelly announces the successful bidders

The *iHub consortium, comprising Nairobi’s iHub, eMobilis, the World Wide Web Foundation and The University of Nairobi School of Computing and Informatics, was chosen to host the East Africa lab.

In South Africa, the Meraka consortium, comprising the CSIR Meraka Institute, Innovation Hub, Innovation Lab and Ungana-Afrika, will collaborate to host the Southern Africa lab.

Announcing the winners at the AITEC East African ICT Summit, infoDev’s lead ICT policy specialist, Dr. Tim Kelly, said These two successful consortiums were selected out of thirty nine original applicants; nine of which were shortlisted. The enthusiastic response to infoDev’s call for proposals is especially exciting as it has already created partnerships between applicants and also points out several avenues and organizations for future collaboration.”

Each lab will be a platform for building the technical skills, business nous and personal relationships needed to build scalable mobile solutions into thriving businesses that address social needs. As well as providing state of the art equipment, the labs will offer technical training and workshops and connect developers and entrepreneurs with potential investors, academic experts, and even public sector leaders.

The *iHub is Nairobi’s Innovation Hub which is an enabler and catalyst within the technology community. With the consortium comprising  eMobilis, the University of Nairobi and the Web Foundation we seek to encourage open-innovation within the tech community.

Jessica Colaço, manager of the *iHub , said; iHub is the nucleus of what is already a vibrant technology community that lives and breathes open innovation. We work with everyone, sharing information, sparking ideas off one another to make enterprises more innovative and help technological innovators build businesses with entrepreneurs.”

In South Africa, the consortium of the Meraka Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Innovation Hub, Innovation Lab and Ungana-Afrika already boast wide and deep relationships in business, the public sector, civil society and academia. With many successful projects already delivered in Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe, the Meraka consortium brings together technology innovators every key sector across the region.

Laurens Cloete, acting Executive Director of the CSIR Meraka Institute, said “The Meraka consortium of the CSIR Meraka Institute, Innovation Hub, Innovation Lab and Ungana-Afrika is a great platform for the m-apps lab.  We bring together key players in the southern African ecosystem with complementary expertise combining Meraka’s R&D muscle with the world class facilities and incubation experience of The Innovation Hub which is further enhanced with the contributions from Ungana-Afrika and InnovationLab. With our strong links with government, universities and business in South Africa and many successful ICT collaborations within the countries of southern Africa we are excited about the potential of the m-apps lab.”

Author : Jessica Colaço

Jessica Colaço is currently the Director of Partnerships at iHub. She was the Founding Manager between 2010 and 2011 at iHub and Research Director between 2011 and 2013 at iHub Research. She is passionate about Innovation, Research, Mobile and Robotics Technology, Mentorship and Entrepreneurship in Kenya as she uses her position at iHub to court local, regional and international stakeholders to adopt Kenyan-made and African-made solutions. As an upcoming angel investor, she courts local and international investors to invest in great tech ideas and companies at idea and concept stage. She is also a Mobile and Robotics Tech Evangelist, Co-Founder of WMIAfrica and AkiraChix, ISOC-Kenya Chapter, Treasurer, ACM-W Nairobi Chapter Chair, TED Global Fellow 2009 and upcoming Guitarist. She was named one of the top 40 women under 40 years in Kenya's business scene by Business Daily on 2009, 2011 and 2012. Her endeavour is to put Kenya and Africa on the map for technology achievements and spur innovation within the country and continent! She blogs at:

  • @HiveColab @iHub @Appfrica @NaiLab @Bantalabs @LimbeLabs come together to create AfriLabs | ICT4Entrepreneurship at 12:37:59PM Wednesday, September 8, 2010

    [...] 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 [...]

  • Bobby Martinez at 19:04:12PM Wednesday, September 8, 2010

    Congratulations! When does the hosting begin, and what will happen?

  • Sam at 21:17:52PM Wednesday, September 8, 2010

    Congratulations guys, good Stuff.. gooooood stuff!

  • A New Era for Mobile in East Africa as iHub Consortium Wins Bid to Build Regional Mobile App Lab | Afrinnovator at 12:53:39PM Thursday, September 9, 2010

    [...] Read more on the iHub blog [...]

  • Erik Hersman at 20:57:11PM Thursday, September 9, 2010

    Thanks everyone. We’re just getting the Mobile Lab underway, and the hard work really does just begin now… We’re not expecting it to be up and running in full swing before the end of the year, we still have to build out the space, but we’ll let you know as we know more.

  • Kalekachali at 01:47:30AM Friday, September 10, 2010

    Congratulations. Kazi iendelee!! (Keep up the good work!!)

  • Amos Gichamba at 10:35:29AM Friday, September 10, 2010

    This is one of the greatest things that has ever happened to Kenya’s mobile development sector. I am sure from the labs, boot camps, etc…Kenya will surely grow to be a hub for Mobile techpreneurs, researchers and developers.

    Congratulations iHub!

  • Yet another Mobile Monday !!! *iHub_ at 11:38:58AM Friday, September 10, 2010

    [...] from MXit in the house talking about their API, MobiSoko by Juliana Rotich and a brief about the Mobile Lab from Ken Mwenda from eMobilis and myself.  Please register here! You cannot miss this [...]

  • HN Muyingi at 15:06:25PM Wednesday, September 29, 2010

    Congratulation Guys! That is great for Africa…we need to reverse the traditional trend!!!!

    Prof HN Muyingi

  • Isaac at 18:04:24PM Friday, November 26, 2010

    Eric and the folks at IHub, really great news and congratulations on landing such a strategic contract.

    I got to know about the Ihub from a recent podcast Eric did that charted the history and development of the centre and the great work you all do. Keep up the good work.


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