AfriLabs with major stakeholders and key players in the African Innovation Ecosystem present have successfully launched the AfriLabs Academy an initiative designed to equip African Hub managers and staff, Enterprise Support Organisations (ESOs), and other startup support structures with the training and management skills needed to improve their ability and capacity to support the growing number of startups and MSMEs in their communities.
The Academy is part of the AfriLabs Capacity Building Programme (carried out thanks to AFD’s support through the Digital Africa seed fund). The content on the platform has been co-created and certified by Strathmore University.
While launching the Academy in a virtual press briefing Anna Ekeledo, Executive Director, 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.”
Moetaz Hemly, the Board Chair of AfriLabs noted that the AfriLabs Academy focuses on the realities and challenges of African hubs and startups, 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,” said Hemly.
Rebecca Enonchong, former Board Chair of AfriLabs in her comments said the Academy is a reflection of AfriLabs’ commitment to making better entrepreneurs for tomorrow. “This is exciting because it tells us that together as a community, we can really achieve a lot together. There was a lot of effort put in, to make sure the content was not just educational but also very interactive,” she said.
Innovation and Tech hubs in Africa are key structures in enabling tech and entrepreneurship and are providing scalable solutions to Africa’s core economic and social problems. However, some of these hubs require support to help them function at full capacity. 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 harmonized ESOs curriculum framework that addresses the skills and business development gaps as well as their financial sustainability,” explained Nanko Madu, Director of Programmes at AfriLabs. “The AfriLabs Academy addresses the skills and knowledge gap.”
AfriLabs Academy responds to demands from the innovation ecosystem for greater support in building successful tech startups, and the critical need to build cadres of skilled and effective leaders by adapting best skills, practices, and strategies unique to the African context.
Emmanuel Kweyu of Strathmore University said that the Academy courses are divided into GROWTH and SCALE-UP stages designed to continually improve, with quality assessment and certification from Strathmore University.