Crowdsourcing Initiative Maps Africa’s Technology Entrepreneurs

Lusaka: 20th Feb 2012: Using the power of social-networking BomgoHive Zambia is using the on-line mapping platform Ushahidi to build up an accurate picture of the fast-growing network of technology innovation and entrepreneurship centres across the continent of Africa.
BongoHive have created a dynamic, user-generated, on-line map which is revealing just how many tech business incubation hubs have been set up around the continent.

“In just a few days we have already learned about 15 tech hubs in 13 different countries across Africa”, says Lukonga Lindunda, Co-Founder of BongoHive, “More reports are coming in every day. If we can get the message out there, with the help of the crowd, we expect to reach a total of 25 centres within a week, and our goal is to map 50 hubs before the end of the month”.

By clicking on the red dots on the map of Africa, visitors to the website can discover more information about individual technology hubs that have already been mapped.

By filling in a simple form visitors to the website can inform BongoHive of a new tech hub to add to the map. As Lukonga says “Put your technology hub on the map by clicking on ‘Submit a Report’ and let us have the website and contact details of any centres missing from the map”.

Visit the AfricaHubs website to see the mapping here

This is a very positive story about Africa that directly contrasts the negative stereo-typing of Africa as a continent dominated by poverty, corruption and hopelessness. The technology sector is booming in Africa and we want to support entrepreneurs and get the story out.

Why did BongoHive set up the Africa Hubs map on-line?

“This initiative came from an idea developed in collaboration with Tony Roberts (better known as @phat_controller on Twitter).

“We strongly suspect that there are many other places in Africa where innovators come together in the way that we do at BongoHive and we wanted to use this innovative method to reach out to them and share learning and experience with them.

“There are a few centres like the iHub in Nairobi that have earned well-deserved acclaim, but we also suspect that there are many more out there that are unheard of and do not yet enjoy the same level of public awareness and support. We want to help them raise their profile. We want to know more about their successes and challenges. We want to collaborate with them as peers.

“We know from personal experience how mutually beneficial networking has been for tech innovators at the local level here in Lusaka. Now we want to reap the same benefits by networking at the pan-African level with tech entrepreneurs, business start-up centres and hackerspaces”, says Lukonga.

Why the mapping initiative specifically?

“We think that crowd-mapping is the perfect way to make visible the wealth of entrepreneurial talent springing up all across Africa”

“No one has done it before. We wanted to see if it could be done.”

“We thought that we would use crowdsourcing to uncover the full extent of technological entrepreneurship that exists across the continent. What better method to discover and share this information openly than by using the internet; using social-networking to build an on-line network of technology hubs. It has been an exciting process”

We want to put out the appeal to people everywhere to let us know what tech hubs exist so that we can put them on the map, literally.

Notes to Editors:

BongoHive is Lusaka’s Technology and Innovation Hub, a place where tech enthusiasts and entrepreneurs meet to share, learn and innovate.

Lukonga Lindunda and Bart Cornille were instrumental in setting up the centre in Longacres, central Lusaka as a place for tech geeks to incubate ideas and create synergies.

BongHive was set up in 2011 and is becoming well known as a place where ………

Why was BongoHive Zambia set up?

“Our experience was that Zambia was not short of technology enthusiasts with great ideas but that it lacked a space for them to network with like-minded entrepreneurs who were facing similar challenges and triumphs. That’s why we created BongoHive” says Lukonga.

“Synergies are created when like-minded people work together and bounce ideas off each other. Governments create business parks, business leaders form chambers of commerce, universities create think tanks and we formed this technology hub” says Lukonga.

Source: Response Source.Com – Press release – 23 Feb 2012