SAIS 2 facilitates improved networks between innovation actors within Southern Africa through Connected Hubs. By connecting actors for a joint cause - enhanced entrepreneurship support and regional connectivity - the purpose is to build a community and facilitate knowledge exchange. The aim is to share best practices in innovation support and further build a networked community of innovation actors in Southern Africa Development Community (SADC). After a successful pilot in 2018, the network grows from 10 organisations to 19 member organisations with five knowledge partners spanning across seven countries.
By the end of the year 2019, Connected Hubs will have built bridges between 20 business support organisations across seven countries, supported over 300 early-stage entrepreneurs and strengthened five early-stage, impact-driven start-ups. Overall hubs have strengthened their skills in start-up coaching and regional collaboration.
Connected Hubs is a network of Southern African innovation support organisations with linkages to international innovation ecosystems.
With a shared goal to enable and facilitate the development of early stage entrepreneurs, we have embarked upon a journey to collaborate to share best practises.
The actors are from Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia, the broader SADC region and beyond.
SAIS 2 Connected Hubs builds the capacities and offers opportunities for networking to startups solving societal problems. The publication “Startups as the New Super Heroes – Entrepreneurship as a Tool for Making a Difference” presents the entrepreneurial journeys of seven startups, namely AgriPredict, All Bosses, Bayon Holdings, Cancer Dojo, Ecohub, PEBL and Solve Namibia, which have been supported by SAIS 2 Connected Hubs through its activities in partnership with Slush Global Impact Accelerator (GIA) in 2017-2018. The stories of these young founders serve as inspiration to others and provide further insight to funders, sponsors and policymakers on the challenges experienced by early-stage startups in Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia. The publication also highlights the opportunities that instruments such as SAIS 2 can offer for startups in terms of networking and partnerships in addition to finance.
Innovation events are important components of every innovation ecosystems adding value to role-players efforts of to network, to gain exposure and to create diverse platforms facilitating learning and timely sharing of knowledge.
The resources toolkit prepared by Connected Hubs will offer guidance on how to plan and market events while working through networks and partnerships. Here is a full toolkit for any innovation actor looking to organise a great event!
An overview and definition of Ínclusive Innovation
Professor Mikko Koria, Associate Dean of Enterprise, Professor of Design Innovations, Director of the Institute of Design Innovation, Loughborough University, London
An in depth introduction to Slush, one of the Europe’s largest start up and tech events organised annually in Helsinki, Finland which sees over 40,000 attendants.
Aino Piirtola , Head of Global Impact Accelerator (GIA)
Basics of marketing for a local innovation event, and provides tips on partnerships.
Dr. Audrey Verhaeghe, President, SA Innovation Summit