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Listing ICT-inclined African business incubators (excluding tech hubs)

July 12, 2011  »  BusinessOne Comment

August 2012 update: Find a crowdmap of all African tech hubs at Hubs in Africa.

No matter what you call them – tech hub, innovation hub, business incubator – technology centers are connecting young entrepreneurs, programmers, designers, and investors. A list of more than 20 African tech hubs, incubators, communities, and labs can be found in a previous post.

business-incubators

A mosaic of 18 African business incubator logos. Click to enlarge.

African business incubation is growing in popularity as the tech (read: app) scene heats up. Incubators can curb unemployment and lessen the digital divide by building confidence and connecting investors with local talent. With proper support, an incubator can even produce businesses at an 80%-90% success rate.

In its most basic form, a business incubator is a program offered with the sole purpose of supporting the establishment and growth of small businesses by offering support services to entrepreneurs. Common threads are the provision of facilities, financial backing, entrepreneurial ideas, and management development. (Africa Report provides a concise article on the subject.)

In 2004, Russell Southwood commented on the lack of business incubators outside of Africa, blaming the deficiency on a lack of private-public cooperation, government funding, and business-friendly climate (Balancing Act, issue no. 186) Seven years later, infoDev’s iDisc global network consists of over 300 incubators in 88 countries with 72 iDisc incubators in Africa. Reportedly, 51 target the ICT sector, but fewer than half of this number readily appear in search engines or news articles.

The following is an attempt at listing ICT-inclined business incubators that are not considered strict “tech hubs.” However, keep in mind the distinction incubator/tech hub is rather blurred.

Co-Creation Hub Nigeria: “a place where different stakeholders think and work together to create innovative solutions to the social challenges facing Nigerian society.”

Innovation By Design: “specialise in partnering with entrepreneurs to turn these ideas into successful enterprises.”

KeKoBI: “supports micro, small and medium enterprises to become healthy, wealth-generating businesses through provision of Business Development Services (BDS) and fully furnished rental office spaces with fast speed Internet at subsidized rates.”

The HUB Kampala: a space for freelancers, consultants, entrpreneurs, journalists, designers, and artists to take their business to the next level

SME Toolkit Kenya: “offers free business management information and training for small businesses / small and medium enterprises (SMEs)”

  • smekenyahttp://kenya.smetoolkit.org/kenya/en/
  • free information from the International Finance Corporation
  • regional sites in Algeria, Madagascar, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, West Africa, Zambia

National Computer Board: “para-statal body entrusted with the mission to promote the development of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in Mauritius”

MICTI: “Uma visão de longo prazo para o desenvolvimento dos recursos humanos com competência técnica reflectindo a capacidade de participar nas inovações tecnológicas.”

Namibia Business Innovation Centre: “helping you build your business”

SATNET (Southern Africa Telecentre Network):

Ghana Multimedia Incubator Centre:

  • ghana incubatorhttp://www.gmic.gov.gh/web/
  • established in 2005 is to promote ICT Entrepreneurship Development through the incubation of ICT business start-ups and to also develop the much needed ICT skills under the government’s ICT for Accelerated Development (ICT4AD) initiative.

Eastern Cape IT Initiative: “a center of excellence for the promotion of sustainable SMME’s through innovation and technology transfer”

Bandwidth Barn: “encourages innovation and provide ongoing training and support needed to help ICT SMMEs to overcome the entry barriers to employment, start-up, survival and growing their businesses and thus accelerate their development.”

National Board for Technology Incubation (NBTI): “creating an environment for changing the attitude towards personal initiative, creativity innovation, risk-taking and entrepreneurship.”

  • nbtihttp://www.nbti.gov.ng/
  • links talent, technology, capital, and knowledge to accelerate development of new companies

Kigali Institute of Science and Technology (KIST):

SmartXchange:

Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST): “provides training and mentoring for aspiring African software entrepreneurs with the goal of creating wealth and jobs locally in Africa.”

Burundi Business Incubator:

  • bbinhttp://english.bbinburundi.com/
  • develops entrepreneurship and general business skills in both established and new Burundian Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)
  • access to business development services, quality rental space, high speed internet, business mentors, and business skills trainings

L5lab:

  • l5labhttp://www.l5lab.com/
  • business incubator focused on building outstanding businesses out of Africa
  • mobile and Internet

DTBi logoDar Teknohama Business Incubator (DBTi)

  • http://www.teknohama.or.tz/
  • promotes ICT innovation for wealth creation
  • located at COSTECH space in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
  • launched mid-2011

Dakar Information and Communication Technologies Incubator (CITIC)

  • http://www.infodev.org/en/Article.700.html
    public-private partnership among infoDev, the IFC, and local partners
    facilitate the scaling of early-stage ICT enterprises and make sustainable business incubation a reality for Senegalese entrepreneurs

AWEP Business Incubator (Zambia):

  • http://allafrica.com/stories/201106030466.html
    will provide support services and resources to women entrepreneurs to facilitate the growth of their enterprises, facilitate competitiveness and boost export capacity in the region and beyond.

Kenyatta University Business:

extendedbitsExtendedBITS:

  • Website
  • supplies IT from Africa while giving disadvantaged young people a chance
  • offices in The Netherlands and Somaliland

rlabs nigeriaRLabs:

  • Website
  • a global movement and registered social enterprise that provides innovative solutions to address various complex problems
  • has a presence in Nigeria, Namibia, Kenya, South Africa, Somaliland

TANZICT:

  • Information Society and ICT Sector Development Project in Tanzania
  • Website
  • pre-incubation program

ilab-africa@iLabAfrica:

  • research institute with a focus on ICT innovation, Entrepreneurship and ICT Policy Research
  • based at Strathmore University in Nairobi, Kenya
  • Facebook page

malagasy i-hubMalagasy i-Hub:

  • started in 2011
  • coworking project initiated by bloggers in Madagascar
  • goal is to set a coworking space for ICT/multimedia and independent workers
  • Website

Startup Garage Nairobi:

  • started in February 2012
  • the largest co-working space in Africa
  • managed by HumanIPO and Kenyan accelerator 88mph
  • Website

mFriday:

  • started in 2012
  • combines teams of ICT developers and business school students from the public and private universities
  • Website
  • Oskolo

    The Institute for Venture Design (IVD) is a Non-Profit organisation in Nigeria. IVD aims to nucleate an innovation ecosystem visit http://www.the-ivd.org