Somalia Opens First Innovation Tech Hub To Support Local Startups

By Peter Pedroncelli Published: October 11, 2017, 5:24 am
Somalia's first ever innovation tech hub, iRise, has launched in Mogadishu. Photo - TechcabalSomalia's first ever innovation tech hub, iRise, has launched in Mogadishu. Photo - Techcabal

Somalia’s first innovation tech hub has officially been opened in Mogadishu, supporting the growth of tech startups in the African country.

The tech hub in the Somali capital is called iRise Hub, and it provides a co-working space, as well as research, incubation, and acceleration services for new startups, according to Xinhuanet.

While connecting, collaborating and sharing ideas, Somali entrepreneurs at iRise Hub, many of whom fall into the 80 percent youth population in the country, will aim to further develop the tech sector in the Somalia through the growth of their startup ideas.

A statement from the UN Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) explained the vision of the new hub.

“The hub offers young entrepreneurs a platform for technological innovations and collaborations, including business training, mentorship, free internet connectivity, project evaluation and support during the incubation stages of their start-ups,” the UN Mission in Somalia said, according to Hiiraan.

This is a first for Somalia, but Tech hubs continue to drive innovation across Africa, with 314 hubs currently operational in 93 cities across 42 countries, according to GSMA.

Tech hub to enable investment in the future of Somali youth

Abdihakim Ainte, the founder of iRise, says that the tech hub is a crucial part of Somalia’s efforts to invest in the future of its young population.

“We want to give a platform where youth can unlock their potential by coming up with ideas on tech entrepreneurship,” said Ainte, according to Reliefweb.

“We believe it is time for Somali youth to come to the fore with their ideas, claim and invest in their future,” he added.

Ainte also said that the hub was inspired by his experiences in fellow East African nations Kenya, Ethiopia and Rwanda, which have built successful technology innovation hubs.

The tech hub’s name comes from the popular hashtag #SomaliaRising, which has been widely used on Twitter to express satisfaction with the country’s strides towards socioeconomic and political progress in recent years, Techcabal reports.

Somalia has had to negotiate a unique set of challenges to the development of a tech ecosystem in the country, according to AfricaNews.

Political turmoil, terrorists elements present due to an al Shabaab insurgency and limited internet access have been consistent issues for Somalian entrepreneurs to deal with, but the iRise Hub now gives these same entrepreneurs a place to network, incubate and build the startups of the future.

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