iRise Tech-Innovation Hub first of its kind in Somalia. (Photo Courtesy: Quartz)
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Tech-innovation hubs are growing on a faster pace, Africa alone has over 314 active tech hubs in 93 cities in 42 countries in Africa (a number aligned with Disrupt Africa’s prediction in this March 2016 article) and the likes of South Africa, Egypt and Kenya have had theirs expand over the years. Currently, South Africa has 54 hubs, Egypt has 28, Kenya has 27, Morocco has 21, Ghana has 16, Tunisia has 15, Uganda has 12, and Senegal has 10, to mention a few.

Somalia joins the pool as it launched its first community-based tech innovation hub dubbed iRise Hub in the capital Mogadishu earlier this month offering Somali entrepreneurs, innovators, developers, investors, techies, and startups the working space to share ideas, connect and collaborate with each other – just like any other hub in Africa does.

According to Quartz Africa, the name iRise is a play on the #SomaliaRising hashtag from Twitter, which has been used to document the country’s socioeconomic and political progress over the last few years.

The hub founded by a group of young men who hope to transform Somalia into a digital and tech entrepreneurship hub, has its works ranging from conceiving ideas, nurturing, mentoring, incubating, and finally unleashes it (your idea) to the market.

In an interview with Quartz Africa, the principal Founder of the hub, Abdihakim Ainte said their vision is to catch up with the rest of the world by realizing the full potential of Somalia’s tech sector.

Somalia is still unstable with the al Shabaab insurgency hindering the development of the country. The security risks are coupled with limited internet access and lack of innovation policies to grow the fertile ground for technology.

Nonetheless, the young people in Somalia have showed interest in technology with the increased access to smartphones and the internet.

The hub has organized its first ever innovation camp which has been set to be held in Mogadishu, supported by The United Nations Development Programme of Somalia, Ministry of Planning, Somalia, and Ministry of Commerce, Somalia.

The first ever five-day social innovation camp – under the hashtag #InnovateForSomalia, will be targeting the Somalia ‘dairy sector’ which is said to be the largest contributor to Somali livelihoods with over 65% of the population engaged in some way in the industry.

“Organizers are looking for diverse group of young innovators with different skills different skills (engineers, artists, programmers, designers, marketing etc.), that are passionate about community development, to participate in the event,” iRise wrote in a statement.

The top ideas will receive mentoring and incubation support from UNDP’s Incubator in Somalia and an opportunity to travel to participate in a UNDP regional Youth Leadership event in November.

Eligibility:

  1. Individuals or teams of 3 – 5 members can apply (diversity in skills and gender is highly recommended).
  2. All applicants must be between ages 19 – 30.
  3. Volunteering experience is a plus.
  4. English language is required.

FOLLOW LINK to apply for the challenge.