How Innovation Hubs Are Powering Africa’s Growth

“Innovation hubs are not an innovation in themselves, but are huge springboards to innovation”- Hanson Johnson, Country Manager Google Developer Groups and CEO, Start Innovation Hub, Uyo, Nigeria”

 

The key to growth and progress has always been innovation-a process of churning from the old to the new. Joseph Schumpeter, a Harvard economist, described innovation as ‘creative destruction’ and argued that it is an integral and necessary part of growth and development (at any level).

While innovation leads to higher growth, higher growth can lead to greater investments in research and development, which will likely lead to more innovation.

It therefore goes without saying that the future health of any economy rests on its ability to innovate.

 

Innovation Hubs

What really are they?
For the purpose of this article, I would adopt GMSA* definition of innovation hubs as “physical spaces that fall under the broad term of tech hubs: incubators, accelerators, co-working spaces, fab labs, makerspaces, hackerspaces and other innovation spaces.”

Now, while innovation hubs are not an innovation in themselves, they serve as huge springboards to innovation”- [Hanson Johnson, Country Manager Google Developer Groups and CEO, Start Innovation Hub, Uyo, Nigeria]

These hubs go a long way in “supporting innovative local developments, not only in the IT and creative industries but also in other sectors like energy and agriculture.” [Geraldine de Bastion]

When you link youth development and innovation hubs, you begin to realise their importance in solving the issue of unemployment seeing as youths make up 65% of Africa’s population and with that comes concerns of unemployment. Presence of innovation hubs could help in channeling the energies of youth into creative ventures and act as potentially productive sources for their communities.

These hubs also serve as spaces where youths can mingle with and engage members of local IT groups (such as Google Developer Groups) thus learning can take place.

Lastly, hubs go a long way in reducing the cost of starting a startup, since they provide infrastructure at reduced costs so founders can channel their monies to other areas of growth.

Innovation hubs such as Ken Saro Wiwa Innovation Hub (KWSIH) in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, are unlocking creativity and innovation potential by taking care of two major impediments- power and internet!

Over the last five years, Africa has seen a growth in the number of innovation hubs, from a handful to hundreds, and Port Harcourt has not been left out of this growth.

 

On Monday 27th November, 2017, as part of Startup Port Harcourt Week activities, stakeholders would be partaking in a tour of innovation hubs in the city of Port Harcourt. The aim is to discover, promote and engage the innovative solutions individuals and groups are creating. This tour is led by Techative

To participate in this tour kindly register HERE

 

*GSMA- Global System for Mobile (GSM) Association

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Akelachi Kejeh

I'm interested in telling the story of African tech and startups. I also host a tech and startup radio show titled Rivers of Unicorns