InfoDev, a global grant program run by the World Bank to promote ICT, has announced a pilot virtual incubation project to bring up businesses across East Africa.
InfoDev said its new initiative is aimed at redefining the idea of incubation for business by providing tools for businesses in the rural areas as opposed to the urban areas such as witnessed across East Africa.
The participating incubation labs will be required to recruit potential startup, incubate them through virtual startup support and even connect them with funding opportunities.
“We are honored to contribute to this groundbreaking effort to bring virtual incubation services to talented tech entrepreneurs in rural East Africa,” said Tayo Akinyemi, director of AfriLabs.
“AfriLabs is committed to supporting technology entrepreneurship across the continent and finding creative, context-appropriate ways to harness talent wherever it exists,” he added.
The project is funded by UKAid grant at a tune of US$180,000, which will go for an implementation period of two years.
“During that time, the program will actively create jobs, fill needs for services, and reach hundreds of entrepreneurs. A similar infoDev program implemented in Vietnam as reached over 500 entrepreneurs in less than a year,” InfoDev reported.
The programme has identified some of the goals it intends to achieve:
*Bring the benefits of business incubation beyond major cities to rural populations;
*Explore tools and business models that lead to the future sustainability of virtual incubation initiatives.
*Measure the impact and cost-effectiveness of virtual incubation.
*Spread virtual incubation best practices.
*Build upon the technology ecosystem infoDev has created in East Africa, including Dar Teknohama Business Incubator (DTBi) in Tanzania and m:Lab East Africa in Kenya.
Some of the participating labs include AfriLabs, a pan-African network of technology hubs, and includes m:lab East Africa, a Kenyan mobile incubation center; Dar Teknohama Business Incubator, a Tanzanian technology incubator; Hive Colab, a Ugandan collaboration, innovation, and incubation space; NaiLab, a Kenyan start-up accelerator, and the Technology and Business Incubation Facility, a Rwandan technology incubator.