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

iHub By Erik Hersman / November 9, 2010

2011: Hivos Funding and Sustainability


We’re nearing the end of 2010, and the outlook for 2011 is brighter than ever. Thanks to all of the hard work by the tech community, we’ve succeeded in creating a fun, cool and useful place for us all to use – both the iHub space itself and the website.

Hivos Funding for 2011

To date the iHub’s funding has come from private foundations that support Ushahidi – Hivos and Omidyar Network. This trend is continuing into 2011, as Hivos has agreed to cover a good portion of our running costs. This is a big deal for everyone, members included, as it means we can cover our fixed costs while we work towards generating enough revenue to make the iHub sustainable on its own in 2011.

Hivos has a history of investing in tech-related activities in East Africa, and one of the main reasons they agreed to fund the iHub in 2011 is because they’re looking to see what other great projects come from our growing tech community.

Getting the iHub to self-sustainability

The iHub is set up as a Limited Trust Company, much like a foundation, it’s a neutral not-for-profit that serves the needs of the tech community. This means it can make revenue, but the advisers and the staff don’t get to take away the profits, those get invested into the space itself. Our goal, is to make enough revenue to cover costs, thereby having a self-sustaining space.

Currently the revenue streams for the iHub consists of just two areas: Red Memberships (10,000 ksh/month) and paid tech events (generally 50,000-70,000 ksh/event). Added together, these don’t cover the running costs of the iHub, so we have to look for other, more creative ways, to offset our costs.

One way in which we’re doing this is the area of research, where Jessica Colaco will use her experience as a tech researcher to our advantage. Another is through corporate partnerships, as seen with the recent Nokia sponsorship of the lanyards and Green Members welcome event last week.

This is also where you come in

The iHub itself is its own grand experiment, where we try many ideas and stick with the ones that work. If you have some ideas on how to make 2011 the year that the iHub becomes sustainable, let’s talk!

Author : Erik Hersman

  • Tweets that mention 2011: Hivos Funding and Sustainability *iHub_ -- at 09:09:18AM Tuesday, November 9, 2010

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Erik Hersman, Hapee de Groot, Ernesto Gluecksmann, Roger , wendohwillys and others. wendohwillys said: RT @iHubNairobi: iHub funding from @Hivos and moving towards self-sustainability in 2011: [...]

  • Alex Nyika at 13:30:23PM Tuesday, November 9, 2010

    We could look into such things as endowment funds and an iHub foundation.

  • Amol at 14:33:30PM Wednesday, November 10, 2010

    Generating cash flow is a common problem facing incubator-type organizations.

    The first, kinda obvious, idea is to offer IT contract work to local or foreign firms. The iHub is has a critical mass of qualified independent technology professionals available to devote some time to these projects. So why not mobilize this talent by acting as a project management firm and primary contractor and then organizing the iHub members in completing the work (sub-contractors).

    A few more are:
    - Investor matchmaking services
    - Certification Training
    - Staffing and Recruitment services
    - Strategy Consulting (market entry) for foreign firms wanting a piece of the juicy African mobile market

    My question is what are the cash flow requirements? This will help define the scale of revenue generating activities.

    Take an early minority (tiny) equity stake in some of the projects (y-combinator model). Another is crowd funding (kiva-style) of individual member projects who could then pay a higher (market) price for iHub services. I’ve researched this model a bit and have found unmet market needs which an organization, like the iHub, could fulfill. Of course these are a bit complicated and require careful research and planning and I’m happy to discuss further.

  • Paul Kevin at 10:04:36AM Thursday, November 18, 2010

    My idea is investing in ideas that people have and/or marketing the ideas to some iHub partners. Most people have ideas in storage waiting opportunity….like me


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