Bolstering innovators in Africa


to entrepreneurs and their overall contribution to the local innovation communities.

The role of innovation hubs in contributing to the inclusive development of startup ecosystems, in particular those across underserved markets, has become an increasingly followed subject by public and private sector actors. This is partly a function of the fastening paradigm shi ! that is seeing innova- tion and entrepreneurship as viable avenues for skill-building, job creation and broader economic growth. As AfriLabs turns 10 years, we are using this occa- sion to reflect upon the gigantic developments across Africa’s tech ecosystem over the past decade, as the continent witnessed the shi ! from a barely existent ecosystem to a more mature and sophisticated one, and where the interplay between actors ranging from investors to regula- tors, successful founders, support organisations, and corporates is more structured and stronger than ever. Our collaboration with Briter Bridges stems from the intention to move the conversation towards an actionable agenda that provides sound and comprehensive conceptual frameworks built by leveraging Briter’s data and insights, together with AfriLabs’ experience in supporting over 300 hubs across the continent. Looking back at the history of innovation hub map- ping, we now observe an increased depth in the type of analysis that is requested and carried out by the experts and stakeholders involved in Africa’s startup ecosystem. As such, the collaboration with Briter Bridges is aimed at unearthing some of the nuances in the understanding of what hubs actually do and how they stay alive, by looking at their revenues streams, the type of support they provide

As the ecosystem matures, there is a compelling need for hubs to strengthen the dialogue and cohe- sion between actors in order to ensure continuity in the pipeline from idea to growth. Additionally, the increased awareness of the complexity in the hubs’ models, especially as highlighted by COVID-19, calls for a reconfiguration of the way sustainability is understood, thus expanding the very idea of hubs as limited to startup builders.

Anna Ekeledo, Executive Director, AfriLabs


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