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iHub By Hilda Moraa / July 12, 2012

What impact do ICT Hubs have on Entrepreneurs in Africa?


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

By Hilda Moraa

Hive CoLab – A Case Study

Hubs across Africa such as Hive CoLab in Uganda are spurring innovation among technology savvy youth through the creation and exchange of values with entrepreneurs in the space.

The Hive Colab Space in Kampala, Uganda

These entrepreneurs are people with high technology skills such as software engineering, design, programming, as well as young individuals with an idea for social change that they would like to work on and make operational.

Recently the World Bank reported that 43% of sub-Saharan Africa’s population is between the ages of 0 and 14. African countries will likely face an increase in job creation pressure. Many of these skills are being nurtured in the Information Communication (ICT) Hubs such as Hive Colab, where it offers the right environment to nurture and mature ideas. It is a place you can find mentors, or mentor a young person, network, and get partners for their business development.

Alas, little inquiry has been done to understand the various factors that 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. If anything, this young African generation is part of a new process that breaks down historical barriers and harnesses new potential to drive solutions through the concept of open innovation.

iHub Research has collaborated with HiveCoLab, the second Hub of the 15 hubs to be profiled within the study series. The first to be profiled was iHub in Nairobi, Kenya. Download the first ICT Hub Model and Entrepreneurs report of the iHub at

Hive CoLab is an open, collaborative, community-owned, work environment where young tech entrepreneurs can focus on their projects, access the internet, have a quiet professional environment to develop their ideas, hold events and collaborate.

Hive Colab Members at a previous event at the space

It is open to anyone once they become a member. The membership structure is designed around 4 membership tiers that include:

  • Full Member – 3 months, then month to month
  • Shared Member – 3 months, then month to month
  • Bee- member-3 months, then month to month
  • Virtual Member – Month to month

Over the past few months iHub Research has developed the framework for their in-house ICT Hubs research series that will break down the unique factors that make up ICT Hubs/Labs in Africa (Afrilabs). The series has a special focus on the role of ICT Hubs in fostering innovative entrepreneurship.

The Research Framework

The overall ICT Hubs study seeks to answer the following research questions across selected African ICT Hubs:

1. What impact does the Hub have on the individual’s development (skills and personal growth)?

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 member?

4. What is the most important factor, which makes the members continue to use the space?

iHub Research will use mixed methods to assess the impact of hubs on members in Hive CoLab. Qualitative and quantitative methods will be used including: virtual meetings, direct observation, focus-group discussions, and semi-structured interviews in 15 Hubs/Labs around Africa. Based on the data collected through virtual networks, focus group discussions, workshop findings, and e-survey results, a visual report will be produced that illustrates the impact of the hubs on the Hive Colab members.

In the following months, iHub Research will regularly report on this project’s progress project through this blog.

We welcome your comments and support!


Photo Credits: Hive Colab/Facebook

Author : Hilda Moraa

  • greg at 09:29:15AM Wednesday, July 18, 2012

    Its really scary if 47% of us in sub-Saharan Africa are between 0-14. Its urgent that we develop these tech solutions to be able to sustain this. Interesting!

  • Mbinu | Web Design at 16:19:49PM Wednesday, July 18, 2012

    A very interesting read on the role of ICT Hubs in fostering innovative entrepreneurship in Africa ,Kenya.

    I think more counties in EA will adopt this approach for the good of the future generations to come.

  • habel at 08:57:24AM Thursday, July 19, 2012

    Africal should entirely be dependant on any ICT Solution across the region… for innovative products

  • Amen Rahh at 14:46:39PM Friday, July 20, 2012

    The model sounds great,”helping the youth and all”. but it can not work with young people alone. Successful, experienced, mature entrepreneurs must be there to guide them. Yes we are rare. All the more reason we should be valued. Please correct me if I am wrong, but I don’t see this at the hub. As a teacher of young adults for over 27 years, I can assure you there will be a lot of wasted time do to lack of focus, which is do to lack of vision, which comes from lack of strong leadership. Young people don’t need freedom to dream. They need and want guidance, inspiration, encouragement, discipline and love in order to not only achieve lasting success, but to appreciate it as well.
    Young people can not do it alone. But that’s just my opinion, I could be wrong.

  • OA News: July 10-22, 2012 » oAfrica at 01:04:12AM Monday, July 23, 2012

    [...] What impact do ICT Hubs have on Entrepreneurs in Africa? {*iHub_} [...]

  • Hilda Moraa at 20:36:51PM Tuesday, July 31, 2012

    You can download the report from iHub Research website at this link

  • Hilda Moraa at 20:43:49PM Tuesday, July 31, 2012

    I totally agree with your opinion, guidance is highly needed for the young people to be successful and learn from experienced networks.More so getting the right experienced people that will guide them towards their product objectives and growing with them is proving to be the challenge as documented in the iHub entrepreneurs report iHub is growing and working towards this network of experienced people that the members can tap into. I believe that the guidance/mentorship from experienced people need to be even more strategic and on the other side time created by the mentors to be there not once, twice but on a continuous approach.

  • Hilda Moraa at 20:45:40PM Tuesday, July 31, 2012

    Absolutely! But again a strategic plan to adopting the solutions need to be well thought out with the right support around it.

  • Hilda Moraa at 20:48:12PM Tuesday, July 31, 2012

    Thanks for the compliment. We are in the journey of getting EA Hubs/Labs to be part of this study and learn from each other through collaborative efforts and innovative learning.

  • Hilda Moraa at 20:49:48PM Tuesday, July 31, 2012

    Yes its a scary thought. More so have the tech solutions be cemented with the right support of stakeholders for the users to embrace it sustainably.


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