Leading Pan-African network organisation, AfriLabs is commemorating 10 years of empowering and inspiring a thriving innovation economy in Africa. For the past decade, AfriLabs has stayed true to its goal of supporting the growth of technology hubs and their community to raise high potential entrepreneurs that will stimulate economic growth and social development in Africa.
Founded in 2011 with five hubs across four African countries, AfriLabs has grown exponentially in the last 10 years, and the organization currently stands at over 300 member hubs across 119 cities in 50 African countries. AfriLabs has been at the forefront of enabling innovation in Africa for the past decade, serving as a nexus point for innovation hubs across the continent, providing support to the community of rapidly evolving technology hubs through financing, mentoring, networking opportunities, and other capacity-building initiatives, to produce high-potential entrepreneurs that will positively impact the continent’s socio-economic status. Some of the key milestones recorded by the organisation in its 2020 impact report include:
- 1 million+ large community of hubs and start-ups in the African tech ecosystem reached and engaged in AfriLabs programmes and activities.
- Influencing policy in five African countries.
- 2,000+ members of the innovation enablers community in 56 countries and the five regions of Africa have been trained on how they can better support start-ups.
- 1200+ stakeholders have been engaged through the Virtual Meetup Grants and 58 per cent of these stakeholders are females.
- 279,000 Euros in grants given to community members in 2020.
- 212 start-ups have been supported through business development support, mentoring, funding and 78 per cent of these start-ups are female-led.
Speaking on the milestone, Anna Ekeledo, Executive Director, AfriLabs, said, “The African tech ecosystem has witnessed increased levels of growth in the past few years and this growth did not happen in a vacuum. It is largely attributed to the innovation ecosystem, particularly support systems via tech/innovation communities like AfriLabs who have played a crucial role in nurturing startups and entrepreneurs. We are proud to celebrate this monumental milestone and we also use this opportunity to thank our team, partners, community members and all stakeholders who have supported our vision of building a thriving innovation economy in Africa. As we ring in the next decade, we are excited about the future and ready to continue the work of accelerating innovation across the continent through our impactful programmes and initiatives.”
The organisation is also set to host its 2021 Annual Gathering conference, the largest convention of brilliant African innovation hub leaders and ecosystem builders on the continent. The theme for this year’s gathering is “AfriLabs at 10: A Decade of Empowering and Inspiring Innovation across Africa” and is scheduled to hold in Abuja, Nigeria from 25th – 27th October 2021. The event will provide a unique opportunity for players in the innovation community – ranging from hubs, start-ups, academia, investors, corporate organizations, and development agencies – to convene, network, and share knowledge on driving innovation across the continent.
“The 2021 AfriLabs Annual Gathering is special to us as it coincides with AfriLabs 10th anniversary. Looking back at all we have accomplished in this past decade, we are so proud of our contributions to the development of the Innovation Ecosystem in Africa, and this edition provides an opportunity to spotlight the remarkable growth the African Ecosystem has witnessed over the years,” added Anna Ekeledo.
Towards the 2021 Annual Gathering, AfriLabs has also partnered with organizations that share a combined vision to propel the African innovation ecosystem including GIZ Make-IT, Mozilla, Honoris United University, and Liquid Intelligent Technologies. Due to Covid-19 restrictions across the globe, the AfriLabs Annual Gathering will be a hybrid event and interested participants can register here.