Over the years, AfriLabs has conducted research on the needs of African technology hubs, capacity gaps, and has developed a series of initiatives as a result. These initiatives have now been updated and expanded into the AfriLabs Capacity Building Program (ACBP), which is implemented with the support of the French Development Agency (AFD) through the Digital Africa seed fund.

The ACBP aims to provide valuable training, resources, and support to African technology hubs, helping them to overcome capacity gaps and improve their operations. Through this program, AfriLabs hopes to have a multiplier effect on the growth of the African innovation ecosystem. By strengthening technology hubs, AfriLabs believes that successful startups will emerge, ready to invest in the continent, and contribute to its economic growth and development.

The recent AfriLabs Capacity Building Program Physical Workshop took place in the Democratic Republic of Congo in Lubumbashi, the second-largest city, located in the country’s south easternmost part, along the border with Zambia. The 03 days physical workshop commenced on May 10th to May 12th 2023 and Mountain Hub was one of the honored participants of this program represented by its hub manager Herbert Ambesi.

Hosted by the Lubumbashi Innovation Center, day 1 of the physical workshop program aimed at equipping Hub Managers from different French-speaking African countries, including Cameroon, Burundi, Congo, and DRC with tools to design relevant and effective support programs for successful startups. <<It was a rich learning, discovery, and engaging experience. >> Herbert mentioned.

The ACBP Program was designed to equip technology hubs with the necessary skills to improve their ability to support the increasing number of startups and SMEs in their communities in Africa, a mission that CINOLU is committed to continuously developing for the younger and newest local hubs through training, tools, and sharing of programs.

Moving to Day 2, Participants had the privilege of listening to Tadzoka Pswarayi, Co-founder and Director of Impact Hub Harare, who shared her expertise on leveraging stakeholder engagement and community management to drive hub growth.

Finally, Day 3 came with so much richness, representatives of stakeholders such as relevant government agencies, investors, startups, funding organizations, private sector and development agencies were present. Devoted to the engagement of the AfriLabs ecosystem, It was an opportunity for the participants to meet with stakeholders and key players in the technology ecosystem and innovation in Francophone Africa, the objective of which was to offer participants the opportunity to network and identify areas of learning and collaboration, discuss and propose solutions to the current challenges encountered within the ecosystem.

Additionally, there was a panel session on “Building Prosperous Startup: The Role of Stakeholders in Supporting Women-Led Businesses”, and also a showcase where partner organizations and startups in the Lubumbashi ecosystem made presentations to the parties stakeholders present at the event on opportunities for partnerships and collaborations with innovation centers across the region

The AfriLabs Capacity Building Program is a vital initiative that empowers African technology hubs to bridge the capacity gaps that hinder their growth and success. With the support of the French Development Agency, the ACBP is now fully equipped to deliver comprehensive and effective capacity building that will drive innovation, entrepreneurship, and job creation across the continent. As African tech hubs continue to play a critical role in the development of the digital economy, the ACBP is a crucial step towards ensuring their long-term sustainability and success.

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