The EUR373,000 (US$432,000) Joint Hub Fund Programme established in Africa by the DOEN Foundation, Hivos Foundation and Indigo Trust has awarded its first four grants, with Cameroon’s ActivSpaces, Uganda’s HiveColan, Ghana’s iSpace and Tanzania’s KINU boosted in their efforts to support entrepreneurship.
The fund as established in June last year by DOEN, Hivos and Indigo Trust, aimed at catalysing the continent’s technology startup ecosystem in order for it to contribute to significant social changes and create employment.
ActivSpaces, HiveColab, iSpace and KINU have been awarded grants for an initial one-year period, with which they are expected to facilitate collaboration among entrepreneurs and the creation of applications and solutions that solve societal challenges.
“The DOEN Foundation believes in a green, creative and inclusive society because the world is full of committed entrepreneurs eager to develop sustainable, cultural and socially-engaged initiatives. With the grants provided in this collaboration of the Joint Hub Fund Programme, we hope to give a positive boost to social entrepreneurship in Africa,” said Nina Tellegen, chief executive officer (CEO) of the DOEN Foundation.
“With this partnership, we hope to boost the development of tech ecosystems in Africa, and by supporting young innovators, entrepreneurs and technologists, we are also playing an important part in promoting the growth of the continent,” said Tanya Lubbers, director of the Hivos Regional Office in Southern Africa.
Loren Treisman, executive of Indigo Trust, said technology is integral to address some of Africa’s challenges.
“The Indigo Trust has been providing grants to technology innovation hubs across the continent since 2011. We believe that the best solutions to Africa’s challenges will be devised within the continent. Tech hubs can have a catalytic effect on the number and quality of products and projects being devised in-country. They provide state-of-the-art facilities, events, mentorship and training, while creating a collaborative, creative work environment where innovation can thrive,” she said.
“While technology isn’t a panacea for all social problems, it has the potential to enable critical information to reach people at a cost and scale never before possible. We believe that if people have the ability to access, create and share information, then they are empowered to make changes in their own lives and communities.”
iSpace executive director Josiah Eyison said the fund would prove instrumental in growing Ghana’s tech ecosystem.
“The tech fund will be immensely helpful for the operations and programming of iSpace. The startup ecosystem in Ghana is still relatively new, making iSpace a hub for innovation, technology, creativity and networking,” said Eyison.
“iSpace is grateful for the tech fund, which will help us provide programming, events, training, speaker series, maker-spaces, reliable internet and a well maintained space to execute our goals for the coming year.”