The Queen’s Young Leaders Programme Joins the Fund for Tech Innovation Hubs in Sub-Saharan Africa


img_20150923_184214In Sierra Leone, years of civil war and the Ebola crisis have severely impacted on development outcomes.  The illiteracy rate is around 70% and 70% of young people are unemployed or underemployed.  Civil society is weak, fragmented and under-funded and there are few initiatives supporting young people to upskill, gain livelihoods and have their voices heard.

We’re delighted to announce that The Queen’s Young Leaders Programme, run by The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust, in partnership with Comic Relief and The Royal Commonwealth Society,  has provided Indigo Trust with a grant of £366, 100 over 27 months to the Fund for Technology Innovation Hubs in Sub-Saharan Africa to address some of these issues.  Aside from a £10,000 annual management grant, the full grant will be re-granted to Sensi Tech Hub in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

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Ghana Decides 2016

Rightly or wrongly, elections sit firmly at the centre of modern-day democracies. But how many of us are truly informed? What access do we enjoy to really impartial content that is not trying to spin us a particular line or get us behind one party or another? Ghana is no stranger to this problem and it’s something that local NGO, PenPlusBytes recognise. We are supporting them with a grant of £10,862 to help them develop several tools and projects aimed at improving the quality of debate and information around Ghana’s upcoming November elections. Continue reading

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Fashion, Energy and Finance – just some of the areas being targeted by Start-ups in Ghana!

This is the third post about the hubs being supported by the Joint Hub Fund and the exciting start-ups which are emerging from them. Do have a look at my previous posts on ActivSpaces and Hive Colab.

This final post looks at iSpace in Ghana. iSpace supports budding entrepreneurs with all their business needs while also connecting them to potential investors. In 2015 iSpace supported 48 start-ups, 17 of which were led by women. Continue reading

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Citizen Tech Combats Corruption in Uganda: Loren’s Huffington Post Article

Yogera shotWe’ve been working closely with a number of groups in Uganda which are working hard to enable citizens to combat corruption and work with government and others to improve service delivery.

We’ve experimented with a user design process involving mySociety, Hive Colab and Anti-Corruption Coalition Uganda in partnership with the British Council (who co-funded the project) to create a locally relevant tool as well as supporting individual organisations who are doing fantastic work in this space.

I’ve written an article for Huffington Post which is showcasing this work.  Click here to read it. We’d love to hear your thoughts or comments.

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More exciting news from Tech Hub Start-ups!

We’re excited to be sharing stories of some of the great start-ups coming out of tech hubs which are being supported by the Joint Hub Fund. Stories of some of the start-ups being supported in Cameroon by ActivSpaces can be found here.

Today we’re looking at Hive Colab in Uganda. Hive Colab’s aim is to nurture ideas and build empires, both social and business. It offers mentorship, helps members build teams and connects entrepreneurs with investors. Hive Colab has so far incubated over 30 start-ups, from the idea stage right through into full-scale operational and sustainable businesses. Start-ups have created jobs, revenue, products and services – an impressive $500,000 has been received in investments by start-ups so far.  Today, Hive Colab supports 24 start-ups, six with a social focus, 18 commercial.  Hive Colab is now exploring ways to stimulate social innovation, including user-centred design approaches and we’ll share information on that in a future post.

Here are some of my favourite start-up stories so far:

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Start-ups emerging from established Tech Hubs yielding impressive results!

The support offered by technology innovation hubs can be crucial for new start-ups. Hubs run loads of activities to support technologists and budding entrepreneurs including training and mentorship programmes, helping connect technologists to stakeholders and teaching kids to code.

I wanted to share stories of some of the exciting start-ups coming out of the tech hubs which are being supported by the Joint Hub Fund. More information on the Joint Hub Fund can be found here.

Today I’m looking at ActivSpaces in Cameroon. The hub supports both Anglophone and Francophone tech entrepreneurs and offers a six-month acceleration programme with mentorship, legal advice, help registering a company, financing, marketing and sales advice. Today, ActivSpaces is supporting around 20 start-ups, helping them achieve success and independence. Check out some of the stories from some of the start-ups which grew out of its acceleration programme:

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Supporting Start-Ups in Zambia

For many start-ups, raising sufficient funds to go beyond an interesting idea to create a viable business or social enterprise can be a real headache. Limited information, high risk and lack of funding structures can all prevent potential investors from risking their capital, even where they are well disposed to supporting the next generation of leaders.  Continue reading

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