As mentioned in a previous post, The Joint Hub Fund was delighted this year to be able to support two new hubs –IceAddis in Ethiopia and HapaSpace in Ghana.
IceAddis was established in 2011 and aims to be an open community workspace, a vector for investors, and a pre-incubator for young tech entrepreneurs. Based in Addis Ababa, IceAddis aims to create a well-functioning entrepreneurial ecosystem to allow young people to reach their potential. Unemployment in Ethiopia is high (estimated at 17%) and very few people have access to the internet. IceAddis aims to mitigate these challenges by developing a space where Ethiopian innovators can develop ideas into fully-fledged products and services. IceAddis receives between 60 and 80 requests for start-up or project support each year from young people in Ethiopia and is working to expand its reach.
One of the projects to have come out of IceAddis so far is Karta, a scalable digital mapping solution. Many people in Ethiopia do not have addresses which can be matched to a specific location making it difficult to share your residential or business address. This can be a significant challenge for businesses who need to reach their clients and who are forced to resort to time-consuming landmark-based directions. It can also be a problem for emergency help such as medical aid or security and delivery services struggle to find their customers effectively. Karta uses the local administrative structures (such as subcity, district and house number) instead of street names to effectively pin point locations. The company is now becoming a start-up venture and it is now hoped that jobs will begin to be created as Karta grows.
HapaSpace in Ghana is a young hub, established in early 2016 in Kumasi, home to the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, the country’s premier science and technology university. Kumasi has a large number of entrepreneurs and small start-ups but many new businesses struggle to find premises owing to high rents and a lack of space. HapaSpace was established to provide aspiring entrepreneurs with a location and also to bring together tech and entrepreneurial communities for training, networking and other support.
HapaSpace is now home to a number of start-ups including the Neonatal Network Support System which uses mobile technology to offer specialist advice to health personnel in remote areas of Ghana. Through the System, midwives, community health centres and other medical personnel can access expert information so they can provide services which can save the lives of newborn children. Another start-up based at HapaSpace is EasyMechanic, an auto-repair businesses which aims to make car repairs and maintenance affordable, convenient and transparent by offering a directory of service providers and allowing customers to compare rates. Through its “Hatched” incubation programme, HapaSpace is incubating 10 start-ups which have moved beyond the idea stage into development. The “Hatched” programme provides start-ups with office space, business training, programming/tech support, business development, marketing, legal advice, accounting support and fund-raising support.
We are very excited to be working with these hubs as part of the Joint Hub Fund. We will keep you informed as work progresses.