Tech hubs have taken seed across the African continent. Every week there seems to be another open for business, helping young entrepreneurs with their ideas, training them, enabling to share their skills with each other, and develop their existing and new ideas. This is not a phenomena that is unique to Africa, but it is having a tremendous effect on the innovation sector across the continent. From my own experience at Ispace in Accra, it was clear to see the impact these incubators have on their members and users. The vibrant atmosphere is infectious with ideas and suggestions and help available from every angle.
In Nigeria, in particular Lagos, tech hubs are also having a lot of impact. It was recently announced that Lagos will become Africa’s start-up capital, overtaking Nairobi, and this is, in part down to the work of the tech hubs. CcHub is one such that is making a difference in Nigeria. They are an open living lab and pre-incubation space for users to work on their social tech ventures. Users include technologists, social entrepreneurs, government, tech companies, impact investors and hackers. Recently they announced a 15 strong list of start-ups from across Africa that would take part in its Make-IT accelerator programme next year. We have chosen a few of our favourites to feature below.
Across the world there is a huge amount of pressure put on children to pass their exams. It is not different across Africa, with students across the continent often facing many hurdles in order to pass their exams. Many students work for their family, or have a plethora of other tasks to do. Coupled with potentially low resources in the school and also on occasions sub-standard teaching, schooling can be extremely difficult.
DoLessons is offering a solution for “academically distressed students” who are concerned that they will not pass their exams. They say that up to 60% of students are failing exams in some areas, and students are in desperate need of further support. By using their solution, students in need can connect personally with verified expert tutors who are in the local area.
Students, with the help of their tutor, can customise lessons, based on pace of learning, learning style, and a pre defined schedule. With the personal help, students can supplement their school education, and help them with their entrance tests to universities and colleges.
Their platform also offers other resources such as practice tests, a forum for students and teachers to discuss any issues, and even a market place to sell or buy books and other material, helping students save money on learning material. The service not only helps students prepare better for exams, it gives jobs to many expert teachers who want to supplement their salaries.
Often throughout this blog and on social media, Inventive Africa mentions that Africa has a unique set of problems that require a unique set of solutions. For those of us that live in Europe and America, it is hard to solve those issues, as we have not experienced the issues first hand. But, when those issues are solved, the solutions can also be adopted outside of the continent.
One such difference is the use of generators. With power often unreliable, many houses have generators servicing them. There is a general wear and tear on devices as the power goes off and the generator cuts in, and vice versa. A computer could be switched off, charging appliances could get a power surge, not to mention the general frustration between switch overs.
One of Embinix’s products is the Smart Changeover. (I know, another product using the Smart buzzword!) This device makes sure that the change over of power is seamless and even automates it so that there is no more need to get up to do the change over yourself! Where this is really important is during the night, allowing families to sleep, without having to get up to shut off the generator and save precious money on fuel.
The housing market, or building industry in general, is flourishing in parts of Africa. In Accra, for example, the landscape has changed incredibly in the last 5 years, with tall building sprouting all over the cities. Hotels, big mansions, casinos, office buildings are all shooting up, making it easier to get lost in a city I used to know like the back of my hand. Many people from oversees are involved in these projects. I know of many families in the diaspora who are building lovely houses back in Africa to eventually settle down in on retirement. Many people find it difficult managing these projects from oversees, and have to travel down to check on the project on many occasions to make sure that it is going to plan.
Track Your Build, from Sierra Leone, make that possible from anywhere in the world. It is an interactive construction project management tool, which allows auditing, and tracking of a project through the platform. Clients are able to keep absolute control over their projects, and make sure that everything is going to plan. They can see how much is being spent, and if the building team are meeting their milestones. They can now manage their financial risk, and mitigate against fraud.
The platform offers even more than the project management tool. They offer services through out the entire process of building a property, to the architectural work and through their project management app the building process. To survey the land they use drone technology, which is a clever use of modern day tech for a very old practice. To fully utilise the drones, they also use them to monitor the building process, so that users do not have to just rely on data inputted by a foreman to know what is happening on their site. Track Your Build offers absolute transparency!
It is always exciting to write about the many new innovations from Africa. If you know of any innovations in Africa, an innovation that is changing lives, or you also want to be a guest blogger, get in contact with us on Twitter @inventiveAfrica or via email. Please she the blog with your network on Twitter and Facebook.