As innovation hubs increase in number across Africa, the need for capacity building, benchmarking and other supportive initiatives prevail. It’s from this inclination that AfriLabs is launching an academy to accelerate support for hub managers and staff.
AfriLabs is an umbrella body that has enlisted more than 340 innovation centres across 52 African countries. The AfriLabs Academy aims to offer training and relevant management skills to leaders of hub centres to help improve their ability and capacity to support the fast-rising number of startups and MSMEs in their communities.
Anna Ekeledo, executive director at AfriLabs.said, “The AfriLabs Academy is a knowledge repository for innovation hubs and other stakeholders across Africa designed to equip startup ecosystem enablers with the needed skills and training to support African startups. I am proud of the team, partners, and community for making this happen.”
AfriLabs was founded in 2011 to build a community around rapidly emerging tech hubs―innovation spaces that serve as meeting points and communities for developers, entrepreneurs, and investors. Besides capacity building, the organization engages in research, and policy advocacy as well as programmes and events.
A Needs Assessment report prepared by AfriLabs showed that entrepreneurship support organizations(ESOs increasingly recognize the importance of mentorship and coaching for their ventures’ growth and prospects.
The report also highlighted four key performance indicators include for ESOs; number of entrepreneurs supported, jobs created, mentor/advisor/coaching time, and number of investments facilitated.
“The Needs Assessment report established a need for a comprehensive harmonized ESOs curriculum framework that addresses the skills and business development gaps as well as their financial sustainability. The AfriLabs Academy addresses the skills and knowledge gap,” said Nanko Madu, director of programmes at AfriLabs.
It is this curriculum gap that the AfriLabs Academy aims to address.