The DIY Toolkit For African Innovation and Technology Hub Managers.
The toolkit for running and managing innovation spaces and technology hubs.
By 2021, it will be exactly 10 years of me working in the innovation and technology entrepreneurship ecosystem in Africa. I have done my 10,000 hours and I can say for a fact I’m an expert in designing, implementing and evaluating innovation ecosystems in Africa. I have worked with hundreds of startups, supporting the establishment of spaces (maker spaces, labs, incubators, etc) and consult local, regional and international organizations on Africa innovation and technology entrepreneurship ecosystem. No wonder my company’s mission is to build Africa’s innovation ecosystem one block at a time.
The hub manager’s DIY Toolkit is a tool I started to work on in 2015 when I was requested by Dr. Hassan Mshinda, former Commission For Science and Technology Tanzania (COSTECH) Director-General to do something for new and upcoming innovation hub manager’s when I was transitioning my career to a full-time commitment towards my business, Sahara Ventures. The open-source project was aimed at supporting the new hub managers to understand the three key pillars of the innovation hub; the community, the program (activities) and the team (management team). The tool summarized key issues related to the three pillars and some aspects of the innovation ecosystem including how to work with other players in the ecosystem and how to ensure sustainability. The slightly updated version of the tool (focusing on financing business incubators) was used to train other hubs in Africa in partnership with AfriLabs in 2017 as part AfriLabs masterclasses for hub managers, especially for the upcoming ones.
The last quarter of this year (2019) Sahara Ventures started to work on a more updated version of the Toolkit which involves things like; creating a pipeline of value, engaging with ecosystem stakeholders, rethinking business models and sustainability, designing programs and activities, and monitoring and evaluation for innovation hubs.
One important thing to note, there has been a lot of amazing toolkits and resources out there for designing programs and activities from organizations such as Infodev, GSMA, Nesta, and others. You should definitely take the time to review and study them. The unique value of this Toolkit is the relevance of the contents and materials that goes with the Toolkit. The learning is purely from African hubs and it is based on years of experience working in African environments especially the Tanzanian environment. I was blessed to be among the first champions of the Tanzanian Innovation and technology entrepreneurship ecosystem eight years ago.
The Hub Manager’s DIY Toolkit Version 2.0 will be launched in the first quarter of 2020. It will be an open-source project shared under a Creative Commons license for people to use and play around with it. We are looking to collect more feedback and insights to better improve the tool. Once it’s ready it will be accessed from the Sahara Ventures publications page.
We are welcoming partnerships and collaboration.
You can email us at | email@example.com
Let’s work together to build Africa’s Innovation and Technology Entrepreneurship ecosystem.
Jumanne Mtambalike, CEO, Sahara Ventures.