Friday, November 21, 2014

Unicef Malawi plans to open an Innovation Hub in Blantyre

Plans are at an advanced stage to open Malawi's first ever Innovation hub courtesy of Unicef Malawi. According to Unicef's Technical Specialist, Micheal Kavuma, the hub will be at the University of Malawi's Polytechnic Chichiri Campus.

Kavuma said the hub will help in shaping innovators' ideas, funding them and providing mentorship. He was speaking on Sunday 16th November 2014 at the #TEDxYouth Blantyre Silmucast organized in the same room Unicef plans to house the Innovation Hub.

Malawi has no proper functioning innovation hub despite having many interesting innovators. The hub will provide a platform for future innovators like William Kamkwamba (the boy who harnessed the wind), Gabriel Kondesi (a boy who made his own radio station), Milwad Faluweki (an innovator who made a bicycle powered phone charger), Edmond Kachale (he made a Chichewa firefox add on translator).

Even though the hub will be based in Blantyre, it will also accept ideas from all over the country. It will also have an online platform to connect its membwrs from all over the country.

In neighboring countries, hubs have facilitated the growth of numerous startups and small scale enterpreneurs. Tech hubs like iHub in Kenya and BongoHive in Zambia have seen IT businesses growing and interest in Tech surging among youths. Malawi has other Tech meetups like Blantyre and Lilongwe Google Developer Groups (GDG), Young Innovators and the annual TEDxLilongwe where geeks and innovators meet to share ideas, conduct hackathons and barcamps.