Let me say upfront that I am SO impressed that Nairobi has a place like iHub. Located on Ngong Road in an area that has been nicknamed Silicon Savannah, iHub was officially launched in March 2010. In a few brief years, the centre has positioned itself as the hub for IT in East Africa and beyond.
Another thing that impressed me is that iHub is constantly evolving in response to the needs of the IT community. And that’s probably the key to its success. During our rooftop interview at iHub’s offices, Mugethi Gitau explains all about iHub. Below is a summary she wrote:
The iHub offers the best Internet connection in East and Central Africa, the best coffee in Nairobi, and a fantastic community of like-minded individuals.
We started off as a co-working space, in which we found a cool room, kitted it out with seats, a coffee shop, wi-fi and a foosball table. We then opened it up to Nairobi’s tech community.
We want techies to work here, mostly for free, in the hope that having all these passionate, committed individuals working in the same place will lead to fruitful conversations and interactions.
We hope that if you’re a developer and looking to work on a project, you can find a designer within the iHub space to help you do that; or if you’re a social entrepreneur with a good idea, you can find someone who can build you an app to help you achieve that idea. Work together, build community, grow together.
In addition to the co-working space (also called the pre-incubator), we have several other initiatives: m:lab, Research, Consulting, Cluster, UX Lab. (More on those later!)
The iHub’s mission is to catalyze and grow the Kenyan tech community. In the last 3 years we’ve seen something like 50+ companies spin out of the iHub community.
There are quite a few who have received funding and grown from a 2-3 person startup into growing young companies.