African countries youngsters are joining the global tech ecosystem of co-working spaces that are quickly becoming hubs for creative and innovative collective. Fresh graduates are establishing space that attracts a community of diverse professionals mostly aged 35 years and below. For example in Nairobi’s famed iHub, techpreneurs, digital nomads work side-by-side, demonstrating that this concept’s time has come. Research conducted last year focusing on sub Saharan start ups revealed that co-working spaces have quickly become more than just shared office space with fast Wi-Fi, desks and cool cafes. They have grown into places of learning where connections and relationships develop spontaneously and organically. Entrepreneurs, freelancers and programmers share knowledge in collaborative and innovative environments, whose development is creating a natural ecosystem in which collaboration and sharing resources are encouraged. This allows for professional growth to flourish in unexpected and exciting ways. The co-founders surveyed said they have been surprised by how quickly their tech communities are embracing the space.
Each day in African tech startups rub shoulders with professional and personal connections between established tech expats, serial entrepreneurs, equity investors and creative freelancers. In South Africa, Nigeria and Ghana, tech hubs have been facilitating connections and collaborations, some by hosting series of weekly events. Having been to some of those tech hubs, I strongly feel that, once tech community is engaged and productive, they have an opportunity to make an impact. It is all about inspiring and nurturing a community as much as the business and projects being worked on tech hubs. The initial phase are spent encouraging people to collaborate, connect and be creative after which people are encouraged to contribute through selected programs followed by growth. African tech hubs innovators are hoping to help the underprivileged in the continent by solving key social issues in the areas of health, agriculture, education, energy, environment, information, communication technology, water and sanitation. Tech hubs transparent, open and cozy atmosphere attracts both mid and longtime residents and talented techpreneurs where WI-FI connections allow them to work from anywhere. Few would argue that mushrooming startups co-working environments are promoting human values to support people in their businesses. From African tech hubs, the connections formed have the potential to create a continental movement of innovation, change and mobility like never before.