African entrepreneurs can now connect on the web via a new network called Afrilabs.
The new network targets young entrepreneurs, web and mobile-phone programmers, designers, and investors. The new venture, Afrilabs, connects tech entrepreneurs such as iHub in Kenya, Hive Colab in Uganda, ActivSpaces in Cameroon, Nailab in Kenya, and Banta Labs in Senegal.
"There's been a growing number of innovation hubs sprouting up across the continent," explains Jon Gosier, co-founder of AfriLabs. "For the most-part, we're all focused on encouraging and supporting job-creation, innovation and entrepreneurship in general. Five of us decided to get together to create a network that pools resources, including a fund we're building specifically for investing in African startups."
Afrilabs will focus on connecting young entrepreneurs, web and mobile-phone programmers, designers, and investors. What makes AfriLabs different is that it links between the incubators and by linking the incubators it means that each incubator also benefits from the various resources of each incubator.
"I think there's been demand across the continent for some time to see more investment in the private sector; to help create jobs and encourage emerging talent. We would like to see more foreign investment, but we also hope to encourage local investment," explains Gosier. "Part of what we’re doing is lowering the risk for investors (foreign and domestic) by creating this overarching fund that isn’t being invested into one city, one country, or one lab, but across the continent. This also creates a wide network of support for entrepreneurs."
According to Gosier, Afrilabs aims to develop new startups while looking to expand their members. Says Gosier, "The proof will be in the results: the success stories, the businesses born, the jobs created. It's up to us to change those perceptions by putting forth new stories."