iHub – Nairobi’s Innovation Hub for the technology community – is here! It’s an open space for the technologists, investors, tech companies and hackers in the area. This space is a tech community facility with a focus on young entrepreneurs, web and mobile phone programmers and designers. It is part open community workspace (co-working), part investor and VC hub and part incubator.
A number of us in the Nairobi tech community have been discussing the need for a physical nexus for the tech community here for a couple years, so it’s great to finally be so close to uncorking the bottles and celebrating a big step forward for all of us.
iHub opens on March 3, 2010!
Here’s a rough video of the iHub. A first-look at the space, before any design or wiring is done:
[Note: my apologies for the video quality, it was taken with my phone.]
Background and Info
The iHub will have a redundant 10Mbs connection, hardwired and WiFi, and it’s freely available to any tech person in Nairobi to use once they become members. Membership is free, our only requirement is that you are indeed involved in the tech space as a programmer, web designer or mobile application developer.
Data connectivity is the most important aspect of the iHub, but after that comes a fresh design and an atmosphere that is conducive to techies getting cool stuff done.
Finally, we’re putting our networks into place to give special access to the entrepreneurs and startups who need space to meet with VCs, seed funders and local businesses. We’re trying to create the place where seeds are planted and are easily found by the people with money to help them grow.
A Blank Canvas
The iHub is what we as a tech community make it. It is a blank canvas, a big open room with a great view and wonderful location, but still an empty room that needs some input from people within the community to design, and create a culture around.
What part are you going to play?
- Want to have bragging rights on being the logo designer for the iHub? There’s $500 (38,000 Ksh) up for grabs at the iHub logo contest!
- Have a penchant for design, want to help layout the floor plan, pick the wall colors or design the signage?
- We’re wiring this place with the latest and best data connections in Kenya. Can you help us make sure the network is sound?
- Good at creating intranets for fast and easy file sharing of 1gb+ downloads like the Android SDK? Want to help us build that?
- Maybe you’ve got great business connections. Will you help us connect the iHub and the people in it to the business community?
The new iHub’s location is going to be on the 4th floor of the new Bishop Magua Centre on Ngong Road (directly opposite the Uchumi Hyper). It’s an amazing location, with quick access to public transportation, food and the rest of town.
View iHub – Nairobi’s Innovation Hub in a larger map
I’ve been working closely with a couple of people from the community to find a place and get some basic items squared away. This advisory group is made up of individuals with a long standing presence in tech locally, including:
- Riyaz Bachani, CTO of Wananchi
- Josiah Mugambi, Co-Founder of Skunkworks
- Rebeccah Wanjiku, Tech reporter and entrepreneur
- Conrad Akunga, Blogger and Software Manager
- Erik Hersman (me), Tech blogger, Founder of AfriGadget and co-Founder of Ushahidi
As mentioned earlier, there are a number of things still to be done, and we all need to band together in order to make this space what we hope it will become. Your ideas and drive will make the iHub into the space to be in all of East Africa for tech-related activities.
If you would like be involved, leave a comment below.