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CLUSTER: Hubs, Coworking Spaces, and Knowledge Centers

This roundtable discussion will bring together the managers of hubs, ecosystem actors, entrepreneurs, and more to discuss how collaborative spaces in Africa can effectively address value chain gaps with specific sectors relevant to their communities. Specifically, this roundtable will discuss whether spaces should tailor their services to specific industries or types of members, as sector-focused hubs, and how contributes to spaces’ sustainability and/ or impact on their local environments.

Currently, there are over 250 innovation spaces in Africa. Although these spaces are meant to be connect innovators, there are various barriers to entry that prevent collaboration such as geographic region, language, and fragmented community networks. This participatory design workshop will begin by highlighting and reflecting on these barriers to entry and suggesting potential mitigation strategies. Next, participants will engage in an interactive workshop to brainstorm and co-design appropriate and sustainable solutions that can connect makers, drive innovation and foster collaboration and dialogue across the continent. This workshop aims to unlock the value of shared resources and knowledge that transcends beyond borders. By exploring new avenues to tap into the expansive network of African innovators, scientists and researchers, this session aims to open up knowledge silos needed for the 4th Industrial Revolution .

In recent years, several initiatives have pioneered online platforms to connect collaborate spaces, such as hubs, coworking or creative spaces, etc. To date, however, no one single platform has emerged as the go-to service on a global or even regional level. This roundtable will gather space managers, ecosystem enablers, entrepreneurs, creatives, community leaders, and more to discuss the potential and viability of online platforms for collaborative spaces. Specifically, this roundtable will ask: What can we learn from other platforms, successful and otherwise, as tools and communities to connect hubs? Is it possible to get African spaces on a single platform to manage their operations, and to better communicate and learn from one another? If yes, what would this African platform look like?