JoziHub, described as Johannesburg’s “first technology incubator dedicated to fostering entrepreneurship and innovation” officially opened its doors yesterday at 44 Stanley, Milpark, in Johannesburg.
JoziHub, which was founded by the Praekelt Foundation and which is partnered with Google Entrepreneurs, ISlabs and Omidyar Network, intends to bring potential tech entrepreneurs and developers together with the resources that they need to make their initiatives a reality. JoziHub will focus on internet, social media and mobile tech that addresses South Africa’s social challenges.
Praekelt Foundation founder Gustav Praekelt said in a statement “Technology hubs can play a pivotal role in fostering the emergence of a new generation of African tech entrepreneurs. By providing the training, support, facilities and networks required to enable entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into sustainable businesses, incubators such as JoziHub can make an immediate and lasting impact on local innovation and development.”
JoziHub will have several content streams that focus on specific areas, including Entrepreneurship; Developers; Health; Arts; Education; Environment & Sustainability; Women in Tech; and Government and Transparency. It will also host events “that bring together the continent’s leading thinkers and agents of change within each of these sectors”, the first of which will be the TED2013 Live Stream next week on 27 February.
Google will be supporting JoziHub by supplying “funding, technical content, business tools, and infrastructure upgrades”. ISlabs will be “promoting, supporting and incubating a culture of pioneering innovation in the local online community.” and Omidyar Network supports other technology hubs, in Nairobi and Lagos, in addition to the new Johannesburg initiative.
JoziHub will be working with other locations on the continent, like Kenya’s iHub, and will be applying to join the AfriLabs tech hub-supporting networking organisation. There is a three month launch period where it will be free for entrepreneurs to join and make use of JoziHub. As demand for its services increases JoziHub will be charging for access to events, mentors, hotdesks and space.
Praekelt said “Johannesburg has a vibrant community of innovators and world class thinkers whose ideas can transform the country, and indeed the African continent. At JoziHub, we are seeking to harness this energy and allow its vast potential to be realised.”