Innovation and co-creation hubs are becoming integral to growing the entrepreneurial talent that Africa has to offer. Stepping up to join that innovation landscape, the Praekelt Foundation has launched JoziHub in Johannesburg, South Africa.
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The hub claims to be the “city’s first technology incubator dedicated to fostering entrepreneurship and innovation”. The aim of the hub is to transform the technology industry by connecting potential entrepreneurs and developers with the critical resources they need.
To bring the hub to life the Foundation partnered with some impressive backers such as Omidyar Network, Google and ISlabs.
“Technology hubs can play a pivotal role in fostering the emergence of a new generation of African tech entrepreneurs,” says Gustav Praekelt, founder of the Praekelt Foundation.
“By providing the training, support, facilities and networks required to enable entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into sustainable businesses, incubators such as JoziHub can make an immediate and lasting impact on local innovation and development.”
The hub’s intent is to be a facilitator for interactions and collaborations among various stakeholders such as research, private sector and public institutions, providing a dynamic and far-reaching ecosystem for entrepreneurs to drive their initiatives.
There is particular emphasis that will be placed on the development of internet, social media and mobile technologies that address the country’s most pressing social challenges.
Jozihub is in good company in the innovation space with established and successful hubs around Africa such as Kenya’s iHub, Nigeria’s ccHub and Uganda’s Hive Colab.
Omidyar Network Partner Stephen King believes that the hub will give the city’s entrepreneurs a quicker path to innovation.
“Our experience in Silicon Valley, as well as our support of technology hubs in Nairobi and Lagos, demonstrates the vital role JoziHub will play as an open, living lab where collaboration among social entrepreneurs and technologists will spark new ideas, nurture innovation and create socially minded ventures,” he says.
As part of Google’s commitment to technological growth in Africa it is providing the hub with funding, technical content, business tools, and infrastructure upgrades so that the hubs can support developers and startups.
JoziHub is hoping to work closely with other hubs across Africa and hopes to join AfriLabs, a networking organisation that supports the growth of communities around African technology hubs, soon.
With partners like Google and Internet Solutions, Praekelt hopes the hub will be more than just a physical working space – it will become the epicentre for technological development and entrepreneurship in Johannesburg.