mLab East Africa | World Wide Web Foundation

Overview

More details

Building on the experience of the Mobile Entrepreneurs in Ghana project, the Web Foundation has started working with  iHub, eMobilis and the University of Nairobi on a project to provide training, business development and facilitate the creation of a community of people passionate about mobile and Web opportunities.

Activities and areas of focus

We have growing confirmation that technical training by itself will not be sufficient to have sustainable impact. Training must be surrounded by 2 other activities:

All these activities support the three areas of focus of the mLab (see picture below)

Business, technology and users: three areas to focus on

Team work

The partners have a complementary set of skills and experience. iHub is already the mobile tech place in Nairobi.  The mLab will be an extension of iHub, with a specific setting for business incubation. They are moving to another location, specifically planned and designed to support all the necessities of the mLab. eMobilis has long experience in training, and will be able to extend their current activities to cover mobile applications. The University of Nairobi has track experience is market analysis and will be able to help connecting future entrepreneurs with market data as well as groups of potential users.

Our work at the Web Foundation is focused on three components: on one side – we are working with eMobilis on the training: curriculum, materials, structure of the sessions.
On the other side, we are building a repository of information for future entrepreneurs. This includes links to successful applications all over the continent, links to tools and document, links to Kenya -information, etc. Finally, we are helping to set up the mentorship program.

One of the interesting aspects is to be able connect the different initiatives (Mobile Entrepreneurs in Africa, the Mobile Innovation Lab in Senegal, mLab in Kenya, future mLabs) at an international level, and make them more relevant and innovative as a consequence of this.

Progress

The Lab has been officially launched on the 16th of June (http://www.webfoundation.org/2011/07/mlab-east-africa-is-go-and-lots-happened-already/).

    Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information and Communication - Dr. Bitange Ndemo
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information and Communication - Dr. Bitange Ndemo

Activities there are buzzing, so much that we have already organized the first multi-national event for mobile start-ups, Pivot25 (http://www.webfoundation.org/2011/06/pivot25-day-2/).

One of the judging panel at Pivot 25
Presentations of start-ups were judged by local and international independet experts

 

MedKenya receives the final Pivot25 prize
MedKenya receives the final Pivot25 prize

We have also completed the first two sessions of training course, and start-ups are now putting together the final touches to their demos.