We recently got the chance to share our experience as a hub in the coast region, together with 4 other hubs - Techbridge, Swahilipot Hub, Sote Hub and Close the Gap Hub. It was a real pleasure to also moderate the discussion, hosted by ASSEK. In case you missed it, you can watch the recording and read our take-aways below.
What is success?
Do we want to be an entrepreneurs mecca – a magnet for entrepreneurs from elsewhere in the country and world to come and establish; or do we want to breed local ventures? Do we want to churn out 1 unicorn, or do we want to build hundreds of sustainbale small businesses? These are not mutually exclusive, but our priorities will determine how we attribute our limited resources. With a relatively young entrepreneurship ecosystem, we are in a unique position to define what success will look like for this region; and design our monitoring and evaluation systems to reflect this - moving away from outputs (e.g. numbers of businesses incubated) to more sustainable outcomes (businesses incubated and growing, providing employment for people 3yrs + later, as an example).
Collaborating for advocacy success The Coast region seems to be perpetually be defined – overtly or otherwise - as a region ‘with potential’. Having potential when it’s early on in a lifecycle can be inspiring and motivating. However as time goes on, using that same phrase moves from something inspiring to something that becomes a crutch. As hubs, we need to see ourselves and our hubs as a part of the whole and collaborate to have the desired advocacy impact we need to build an ecosystem that responds to the region’s market opportunities: agribusiness, blue economy, software development etc.
Defining and focusing on our strengths Lastly as SME enablers, we don’t need to compete over resources or step on each other’s toes when everyone is clear about their strengths and focuses on those. Already the 5 hubs in the Coast region have clear, well-defined strengths and objectives, and together this can only serve to enhance the value to local startups and SMEs going forward. It was really interesting to hear and celebrate the successes of our local hubs. Do you operate a hub or want to stay up to date on ecosystem news. Join or follow ASSEK.