Tech Hubs in Africa After the Pandemic

International Trade Centre

Session 481

Wednesday, 26 April 2023 14:00–15:00 (UTC+02:00) Thematic Workshop

The entrepreneurial support landscape in Africa is changing. Over the last ten years, a new generation of Business Support Organizations (BSOs) known as ‘tech hubs’ have emerged and rapidly spread across the continent. According to Afrilabs’ most recent survey - pre-pandemic -, 1031 hubs were operating across Africa in October 2021 “Tech hub” is a broad term that describes a diverse set of organizations. The session will take an in-depth look at how their business models have been impacted by and evolved due to Covid-19, and integrates very recent data from a substantial sample of hubs collected by ITC and Briter Bridges. 

Felista Aku
Felista Aku Partnerships Manager AfriLabs, Nigeria

Felista Aku is the Partnerships Manager of AfriLabs; a pan African Network of over 400
innovation hubs across 52 countries. A resourceful professional with years of relevant experience
in Corporate Events Management, Corporate Communications, Project Management, and
Business Development. She holds a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from Nexford
University, USA, and a Bachelor's Degree (BSc.) in Food Science and Technology. She is an
entrepreneur who is passionately driven to support youth empowerment and the growth of small
businesses, especially those led by female founders. She is a coach, mentor, trainer and facilitator
for various youth-focused capacity-building programs and interventions.

Ninon Duval Farré
Ninon Duval Farré Director at Bond'innov Bond'innov

Since 2011, Ninon has been managing Bond'innov, an association specializing in innovation with a strong economic and societal impact, which supports all types of innovative projects, in France/Europe and in Africa, including the diasporas. After launching the startup incubation service in Bondy (diasporas, mobility, link with research), it set up financing activities (2 seed funds created in France and Africa, 8 local funds created, 2M € raised, 86 startups funded since 2016), program engineering and support for African ecosystems. Ninon in particular initiated the Afric'innov network of incubators - network of 140 incubators, now a spin-off of Bond'innov, and is involved in numerous innovation networks with Africa. 

Puja Balachander
Puja Balachander Head of Venture Launchpad Carbon13, United Kingdom

Currently Head of the Venture Launchpad at Carbon13, where she supports pre-seed/seed stage climate tech startups to accelerate their progress. she also mentors and angel invests in climate tech startups through syndicates and accelerators. 

CK Japheth
CK Japheth Founder The Innovation Village, Uganda

Japheth is building The Innovation Village; Uganda’s launchpad for leading Innovators and entrepreneurs co-creating the future through the smart application of technology to unravel challenges and create unique solutions. He works with mission-oriented entrepreneurs to capture new value from digital—creating products, experiences, and businesses. 
He helped set up The CEO Summit; a community of the top 100 captains of business and industry to dialogue and shape trends driving Uganda’s economy with the Ministry of Finance Planning and Economic Development. 

Formerly he was Head of Talent at Uganda's largest utility, his mandate was to put the best Talent behind the company's Corporate strategy.

Martin Labbé
Martin Labbé Tech Sector Development Coordinator and NTF V Programme Manager at International Trade Centre (ITC) UN International Trade Centre (ITC) Moderator

Martin oversees the Netherlands Trust Fund V (NTF V) programme and manages directly its digital entrepreneurship projects, in partnership with the local IT & BPO sector associations, tech hubs and tech companies. Martin also designed ITC’s Digital Entrepreneurship strategy and its related spin-off, the #FastTrackTech initiative, which was rolled out in 7 African countries at the end of 2019 and led to the development of a customized methodology to support tech startups going international, from the initial maturity assessment to the go-to-market strategy design.