9 African cities in running to launch local Impact Hubs

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Teams from nine cities across Africa have been selected to take part in the final part of the application process to found a local Impact Hub and boost the local entrepreneurial ecosystem.

The first Impact Hub was launched in London in 2005, but since then the concept has become a global movement, with 54 hubs across the world with over 7,000 members.

More hubs are set to be established soon, with Africa a particular focus through Impact Hub’s Africa Seed Programme, a six-month incubation programme designed to support entrepreneurs in opening six Impact Hubs across Africa.

From a number of applications, nine teams – from Cairo (Egypt), Accra (Ghana), Bamako (Mali), Kigali (Rwanda), Khartoum (Sudan), Kampala (Uganda), Lusaka (Zambia) and Harare (Zimbabwe) – have been selected for the final part of the application process, which will see each team take part in a Candidate Committee Call.

The Candidate Committee Call is designed to assess the team’s potential to create an Impact Hub in their city, with final decisions to be announced during the second week of December. Members of each selected team will then participate in an induction meeting in Kampala in the last week of January.

“Impact Hubs are where change goes to work,” Impact Hub said. “Part innovation lab, part business incubator, and part community centre, we offer our members a unique ecosystem of resources, inspiration, and collaboration opportunities to grow impact. We believe a better world evolves through the combined accomplishments of creative, committed and compassionate individuals focused on a common purpose.”

Impact Hub said its Africa Seed Programme was aimed at fostering entrepreneurship through the opening of new Impact Hubs across Africa, with the programme supporting a cohort of local founding teams to become part of the global network.

“The local founding teams across Africa will work jointly as a cohort to modify the Impact Hub business model for their local reality while being supported by practices, tools, lessons learned, and the whole incubation programme,” Impact Hub said.

It said one of the great challenges facing Africa was breaking free from the dependency and vulnerability of philanthropy and learning how to use business principles to create impact.

“Despite the current interest, entrepreneurial activity for impact has been an uphill and lonely battle,” Impact Hub said.

“Through our Africa Seed Programme, we aim to change this. There is an incredible opportunity in identifying a context appropriate and financially sustainable way to support entrepreneurship for impact. Impact Hub focuses on using collaboration and co-creation approaches to inspire, energise and catalyse communities. Each new local Impact Hub is developed and owned by a local team and is deeply rooted in the local market and community.”

Impact Hub said it was still running a social media campaign using the #ImpactHubAfrica hashtag to attract potential Impact Hub founders from cities across Africa, with those interest in applying encouraged to find more information online.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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