African hubs network AfriLabs has partnered iceHubs Global and Impact Hub to run a 3.5 day “Hub in a Box” sustainability workshop, aimed at crowdsourcing best practices on revenue generation.
The workshop co-hosted by AfriLabs, iceHubs Global and Impact Hub for innovation spaces will look at different funding streams for different types of hubs, tapping the knowledge of experienced practitioners. Participants will be selected via an in-depth application process.
Afrilabs, which is a network of 36 tech hubs in 18 countries across Africa, said it was clear that innovation spaces must thrive financially in order to deliver the best support possible to the entrepreneurial communities they serve, but the road to sustainability is difficult.
“Nonetheless, we believe the answers we seek are amongst us, being unearthed daily by committed, experienced practitioners like you,” the organisation said.
“What we need is an effective, efficient way to aggregate, distill, and share this knowledge, which is what we aim to do through this workshop. More importantly, we need people who truly believe that our community of spaces will succeed by collaborating and building together. We all get better and do better if we combine our collective knowledge. But we can’t get there unless you make the commitment to share your triumphs, never agains, and out of the box ideas.”
The sustainability workshop will be an intense, 3.5 day exercise, with selected applicants assigned to four revenue model tracks – community, products and services, space rental, and incubation – that best reflect their areas of expertise.
Each track will then be focused on identifying challenges and creating solutions in each topic area, before insights are brought together and shared with the hub ecosystem.
“Each mini brain trust will then be focused on identifying challenges and creating solutions in each topic area before we bring our insights together,” AfriLabs said.
Hub sustainability has rapidly become a serious issue over the past year, with Tayo Akinyemi, director of AfriLabs, saying last year African tech hubs were fragile and had no clear path towards long-term sustainability.
Akinyemi further advised earlier this year that African tech hubs must act like startups if they are to be financially sustainable long-term, with a number of hubs adopting different models in the quest to break even or maybe even become profitable. Nairobi’s C4DLab is looking to run on a “lean model”, Cameroon’s ActivSpaces is hunting business sponsorship, and South Africa’s RLabs has launched two Youth Cafes.