The Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa has welcomed a new tech hub, with xHub Addis now working with two registered entrepreneurs on their startup companies.
An initiative of the Center for African Leadership Studies (CALS), which focuses integrating indigenous models of leadership, xHub adds to the growing tech ecosystem in Addis Ababa, which already has iceaddis and the Mekelle ICT Business Incubator providing support to budding startups.
The hub is currently focused on signing up members at different tiers, with up to 60 people currently working out of the hub and two entrepreneurs registered, one working on a health-based SMS service and another on a subscription-based site for viewing abstracts of economics and financial journals.
Manager Kibrom Tadesse told Disrupt Africa the reasoning behind the timing of the launch was the growing relevance of entrepreneurship in Ethiopia.
“The economy of the country is increasing, this is the time when the country and the people need its entrepreneurs more than ever before, we need to create jobs more than ever, we have issues that need innovative solutions, above all, we have the people that we need to incubate and work with,” he said.
“Ethiopia has increased its universities in the last 20 years from three government universities to 33, and the number of graduates has increased many-fold.”
He said-the tech scene in Addis Ababa was as exciting as elsewhere in Africa, and xHub was looking to play a role in connecting investors and entrepreneurs rather than acting as an investor itself.
“There are a lot of people working on different software and apps ranging from development-related to games. There are seasoned programmers as well as those just starting up in the scene,” he said. “A lot of efforts are out there to localise useful software and apps in the local language. However, all these efforts are slow and dispersed and we at xHub are trying to create a platform to bring these ideas and talents together for better results.”
The hub says its mission is to promote young entrepreneurs’ socio-economic development and competitiveness through innovation, by fostering entrepreneurship and incubating new innovative companies.
The use of “x” in the hubs name, it said, refers to the unknown, “a puzzle waiting to be solved”. “As an innovative society, we want to solve “x” because we want the hub to be about bringing all these ideas, personalities and complimenting professions together, attempting to answer that crucial question,” xHub said.
Each year, the hub will label one of its members or emerging institutions as the “x”, with the winning entrepreneur or startup winning funds for their project.
The hub is also organising weekly and monthly events focusing on leadership, entrepreneurship, marketing, business plan development and communication and presentation skills, delivered by professionals, university professors, entrepreneurs from the country and global leaders.