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Ashoka East Africa Youth Venture Designer
"Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin It! Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.”"
Previously a Bay Area resident working at Google.
More recently living in Kenya as a designer & builder of Ashoka's Youth Venture East Africa pilot, bizdev volunteer at AHCP helping youth & women residents start enterprises in Kibera, member of the thriving iHub tech space, and a Kiva Fellow.
Currently in China creating an initiative to mobilize youth to civic participation & social change. (shoot me a msg if you have thoughts or interest in this!)
A huge part of Kenya's momentum as a tech hub comes from popular bloggers (eg WhiteAfrican) that highlight the country's innovation. Shine a spotlight on your city's innovations, revitalization, or examples of what's vibrant.
Most everyone has likely seen this TED video in which Dave Eggars shares 826 Valencia, a tutoring program center where writers spend 1-1 time with students. Extend this idea of professionals & kids in one space tutoring + co-creating local vibrancy!
Hey Ken, glad to see you created this concept! I'm definitely a big fan of FabLab after seeing how it lowered the barriers for enterprising Kenyans to learn the skills to realize their product ideas.
I think you touched briefly on the powerful ecosystem potential that a FabLab can create through training people in skills to prototype their ideas, but I think it would be great if the concept delved more into details of possibilities of how the Fablab can serve as a platform for bring the products to markets.
Some ideas: Such as volunteer VC/business/legal office hours. Many business schools have these services. And some specialized NGOs focus on this too, such as Technoserve which recuits volunteer consultants to offer their business expertise to build business models. (www.technoserve.org)
Ashoka's Hybrid Value Chain model is piloting models where it combines multinational companies who can help partner with grassroots social innovators in lending their expertise to scale the products and social solutions that they believe can have massive impact. (http://www.ashoka.org/hvc)
I definitely agree with you that the focus of a "hub" usually comes about organically, when there's already a palpable sense of a relevant issue, or many people in the community who are passionate about an issue.
To reword my original statement, I'm an advocate of forming smaller thematic hubs instead of a general large pool to create closer-knit and more collaborative networks of entrepreneurs, and create services that specifically fit their needs.
This was true for Ashoka whose Fellows whose work spans across agricultural, education, human rights, health....Generally creating services such as workshops/resources/legal advice/social learning trips around different work sectors made them more vibrant and collaborative.