The largest network of innovation hubs in Africa, AfriLabs and the Association of Countrywide Innovation Hubs (ACIH) have signed a comprehensive long-term partnership to co-create capacity building interventions, foster rural innovations, and create training and mentorship programs for grassroots hubs in Africa.
It is common knowledge that most innovation support in Africa is focused on the continent’s urban centres. This has slowed down the growth of the entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystems in peri-urban and rural areas. This partnership aims to address this gap and tap into the innovation potential outside the big cities.
“Innovation takes place everywhere. The role of entrepreneur support organisations like AfriLabs and the Association of Countrywide Innovation Hubs in Kenya is to find, support and amplify these innovators to help them have maximum impact. AfriLabs is delighted to begin work with the Association of Countrywide Innovation Hubs in Kenya to ensure that our entrepreneur support hubs and the communities they serve, regardless of their geographical location, have an equal chance to thrive.” Nekesa Were, Director of Strategy, AfriLabs said during her speech at the signing event at Rift Valley Innovation Centre.
Magdaline Chepkemoi, Chairperson of Association of Countrywide Innovation Hubs and Nekesa Were, AfriLabs Director of Strategy officially sign the MOU. Witnessed by (l-r): Benjamin Towet, Manager of Rift Valley Innovation Centre, State Department for Broadcasting and Telecommunications Principal Secretary, Esther Koimett and Engineer John Tanui CEO of Konza Technopolis and Patron of Rift Valley Innovation Centre. Picture credit: Rift Valley Innovation Centre.
The collaboration will co-create and implement capacity building programs for AfriLabs and ACIH grassroots member hubs to support peri-urban and rural innovations. It will also support the creation of a more robust, more coordinated Pan African ecosystem among the numerous technology and innovation hubs currently operating on the continent.
“What a milestone. When two visionary membership organisations like the Association of Countrywide Innovation Hubs and Afrilabs come together, it can only mean one thing, a plus for African startups and communities. Through this collaboration, we are looking forward to an inclusive innovation ecosystem in Africa, and becoming a source of prosperity for all, by strengthening grassroots hubs to foster rural and peri-urban innovations and strong links with technology and innovation hubs across the continent.” Chepkemoi Magdaline, Chairperson, Association of Countrywide Innovation Hubs commented while speaking to the press at the signing ceremony.
AfriLabs is a network organisation supporting over 340 Innovation Centres across 52 African countries, founded upon the mission of building a community around the rapidly emerging technology hubs in Africa.
These hubs serve as centres that provide support to African entrepreneurs, innovators, developers, and youths. By providing physical co-working and dedicated office spaces, as well as inclusive training and business, legal and financial support, we play an active role in helping to raise successful entrepreneurs who will create jobs and develop innovative solutions to African problems.
About Association of Countrywide Innovation Hubs (ACIH)
The Association of Countrywide Innovation Hubs (ACIH) is a network of innovation hubs based outside Kenya’s capital city, Nairobi. Its current membership comprises over 56 Technology and Innovation Hubs that are sector agnostic, with startups in diverse fields of agribusiness, finTech, Edtech, Energy, Blue economy, Environment & Conservation as well as FCMG among others. Our Mission is to foster innovation, entrepreneurship and Technology and contribute to the greater goals of development through innovation, mentorship, research and policy input. Our main objective is to: promote activities and programs of the member hubs and support their vision of testing and building impactful sustainable businesses in rural and second-tier towns of Kenya.
We work to deliver on our mandate by: Capacity building and resource mobilization to support the activities of individual startups and member hubs, Exploring and running joint programs that are of mutual benefit to members and the target groups, Providing an opportunity for joint research, expert opinion and the central point where different information on startups and thematic core areas can be sought and verified and Engaging local and national governments in policy frameworks or programs to enhance the activities and sustainability of startup enablers.