iHub – A Tech-Community Showcasing, Nurturing Inventors, Technologists, Hackers & Tech-Companies
Africa has definitely made a name for itself it is no longer a continent importing foreign technologies and inventions. It has come of age and is now capable enough to provide its own technology solutions as well as exporting to the rest of the world. It is for this reason that even big players like IBM came to Africa to tap on this ever growing potential with its IBM Research – Africa lab. You might want to know that prior to that the IBM Research – Africa facility was not the pioneer program of its kind to be established in Nairobi, Kenya.
iHub was established back in March 2010 by a renowned blogger, entrepreneur and TED fellow called Erik Hersman. The iHub is essentially a co-working space “cluster” of technologist, young entrepreneurs, inventors, programmers, researches and designers. iHub is also informally referred to as the “unofficial headquarters of Kenya’s tech movement”. It gives an opportunity to young entrepreneurs to get mentorships, internet connection and stand a chance of getting funded through connections made to international venture capitalists. It achieves this through the following initiatives:
- iHub Consulting.
- iHub Research.
- iHub User Experience (UX) Lab.
- iHub Supercomputing Cluster.
iHub can best be described as a place for sowing “tech-seeds” that can be easily be founded when at the early stages of mushrooming by people who have the money and connections to help these “tech-seeds” achieve their highest potentials. The driving force behind iHub, is Open Innovation: an elaborate process of combining both internal and external ideas/paths to advance and develop new technologies in the market.
iHub has literally become a hub of activities filled with young programmer, entrepreneurs, researchers and designers. This space was created by a partnership between Hivos and Omidyar Network. While the building’s lease is covered by Ushahidi, and an internet connectivity of 20mbs given by Zuku and a Wi-Fi connection enabled by Wazi WiFi. The noble cause of this initiative has attracted more international partners like Microsoft and Intel.
Those willing to join iHub have to join one of either of the following membership plan:
- White Members– Are individuals who wish to join iHub but can’t due to geographical distance. Hence they join as through the iHub online community membership and can interact with the rest of iHub members virtually. This membership level is free, and whenever they are in town, the can access the iHub space once per week.
- Green Members – These are members with the minimum qualifications and have demonstrated an ongoing project they are undertaking. Such members can use the iHub space, conduct meetings as well as working on their projects and use the free internet within the iHub space.
- Red Members – These members are given a semi-permanent desk, a locker and when it comes to meetings, they’re given priority. At any time there are 10 spaces available for Red members. The charge for this membership is US$.170 monthly.
- Black Members – These comprise of the internal staffs of iHub and Ushahidi and have unrestricted access to the iHub space.
This is the basic structure of iHub space. Ever since being instituted it has come up with a lot of inventions and innovations. Innov8tiv Magazine intends to look at the best of the best of these inventions in the coming weeks, so stay tuned.