Innovation spaces are physical environments that promote community, learning and creativity. They are also referred to as Hubs, labatory, libraries, maker spaces and co-working spaces. They are stations where innovators can acquire knowledge and skills to prosper in the developing century. With the emerging devolution process, counties are setting up their own innovation spaces to avoid talent waste.
After the opening of IHub in Nairobi, now we have Kisumu hosting Lake Hub and Mombasa, the Swahili Box. Such institutions and others coming up have brought together entrepreneurs, innovators or business-minded to brainstorm on ideas to later come up with solutions that deal with a meticulous challenges. Lake Hub and Swahili Box are modelled on the Nairobi-based iHub, which acts as an instrumental role in the development of Nairobi’s technology ecosystem.
According to Erik Hersman, iHub’s co-founder and advisor to Lake Hub and Swahili Box, Nairobi’s tech industry will always be bigger. But there is a need to build ecosystems in other towns. “Technology goes beyond Nairobi so we need to go to secondary cities. These places need their own spaces where local technology champions can come together, meet and help accelerate their ecosystem,” he adds.
Lake Hub will be operating in a small office in the middle of Kisumu city. This hub will help graduates from 17 satellite universities who are interested in tech activities to explore, learn and acquire skills necessary to support innovation development. This will later enhance job creation as well as minimize rural-urban migration.Lake Hub currently has 1,200 members, predominantly students, and hopes to become the nerve centre of tech innovation in western Kenya. The space hosts an average of 20 people per day including programmers, creative’s, and entrepreneurs interested in financial resources, partnerships, mentorship, training and networking opportunities. The Lake Hub is on its way to inventing applications that can assist people of Western region.