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AfriLabs Academy creates knowledge repository for start-ups

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African hubs network AfriLabs has launched the AfriLabs Academy, an online learning platform to equip start-up ecosystem enablers with the necessary skills and training to support start-ups.

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.

The organisation supports over 340 innovation centres across 52 African countries, including SA.

According to AfriLabs, the AfriLabs Academy is part of the AfriLabs Capacity Building Programme, and is designed to equip African hub managers and staff, entrepreneurship support organisations and other start-up support structures with the training and management skills needed to improve their ability and capacity to support the growing number of start-ups and SMMEs in their communities.

The learning platform responds to demands from the innovation ecosystem for greater support in building successful tech-focused start-ups, and the critical need to build cadres of skilled and effective leaders by adapting best skills, practices and strategies unique to the African context.

Moetaz Hemly, board chairperson of AfriLabs says: “The AfriLabs Academy focuses on the realities and challenges of African hubs and start-ups, and its modules were developed by Africans and are very practical for the African innovation ecosystem. This is aligned with AfriLabs’ mission in building the capacity of hubs across the continent.”

The content on the e-learning platform was co-created and certified by Kenya-based Strathmore University, with the platform based around a needs assessment.

While innovation hubs in Africa are key structures in enabling tech and entrepreneurship and are providing scalable solutions to Africa’s core economic and social problems, some of these hubs require support to help them function at full capacity, says the hubs network.

In 2020, AfriLabs, under the AfriLabs Capacity Building Programme, undertook a needs assessment to identify the needs of enterprise support organisations (ESOs) and hubs.

“The needs assessment report established a need for a comprehensive harmonised 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,” says Nanko Madu, director of programmes at AfriLabs.

“The AfriLabs Academy is a knowledge repository for innovation hubs and other stakeholders across Africa. I am proud of the team, partners and community for making this happen,” comments Anna Ekeledo, executive director at AfriLabs.

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