Assessing the impact of innovation spaces: iHub Kenya


In May 2012 Nairobi’s *iHub released a report detailing the impact of the Hub on Kenyan entrepreneurs. You can read the launch post and  download the report from the iHub website. Here’s the abstract.
This research aimed to understand the impact of the ICT Hubs to entrepreneurs. An ICT hub is a space where technologists congregate to bounce ideas around, network, work, program and design to bring their ideas to fruition. The first ICT Hub of the 15 hubs to be profiled within this study series is iHub, Nairobi’s innovation Hub for the Technology Community. The study found that 100% of the entrepreneurs appreciate the iHub space as it has been a conducive and innovative coworking space that drives continuous networking through the events, community meetups that leads to collaboration and partnerships, sharing skills and knowledge through teamwork among others. This is likely because most of these talented entrepreneurs having graduated with no formal job opportunities, have had their talents and skills nurtured and housed under these hubs. Overall, the entrepreneurs believe that the iHub can further sustain this coworking spirit by building more capacity through communal projects and active virtual member interaction among others.
The beautifully designed report also details their methodology, as well as the indicators that they developed to measure impact.
METRIC INDICATORS
Individual Member
  • Number of times they come to the iHub in an average week
  • The kind of skills/technologies they have learnt since they came to the Hub
Start-up Development
  • Number of products in development
  • Number of team members gained while at the Hub
  • Number of active clients
  • Number of investors gained while at the Hub
  • Number and type of revenue streams for the various products
Significance of the iHub Community
  • Number of connections they have made (broken down by categories: friends, co-workers, investors, business people, etc.)
  • Number of lessons learnt from the community
Significance of the Space
  • Number of events that the members have attended in the past
  • The kind of events that the members would like to see more of in the near future
  • The challenges the members face while working from the space
There will be more research on African iHubs, in collaboration with ActivSpaces in Cameroon. In September 2012, they released a report on ActivSpace’s model, which will be followed by an entrepreneurs report. Looks like a heavy focus on youth employability/entrepreneurship. Finally — I want to share this infographic that I found on the Afrilabs website. It’s a draft created by iHub Research to explain their research framework. There are six categories. One is in the middle: community. I couldn’t agree more — that’s certainly been my experience.

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