Tech hubs and incubators in Africa are growing on an almost weekly basis and to our concern, this won’t probably stop. There is a new addition to the tech startup ecosystem in Uganda, with TechBuzz Hub launched in Kampala to provide assistance to local companies.
TechBuzz Hub is a collaborative working space focused on youth capacity building and startup development. It offers co-working space and access to business development services such as mentorship, consultancy, incubation, associate networking services, training and seminars.
“Our belief is that we have much positive to offer for the survival of the majority of starting and eventually dying or struggling startups,” said Keneth Twesigye, founder of TechBuzz Hub.
Though the hub started operations in August of last year, it had no physical location at the time. Its operated virtually, offering services like web hosting, design and Bulk SMS.
However, Twesigye said the hub felt it had a greater role to play in bridging the gaps of business technology incubation in Uganda, and finding ways of overcoming barriers to employment, business sustainability and social development.
There are already a number of hubs in Kampala offering similar services, such as Outbox and Hive Colab, but Twesigye said he did not consider them as competition.
“I consider them as experienced members of the ecosystem,” he said. “Competition is vulnerable when it comes to hub models. We must believe that each partner has got a unique or different role and value to deliver in contribution to the startup and entrepreneurial ecosystem.”
Twesigye said TechBuzz Hub clients should expect something new and different from the what was offered by pre-existing hubs.
“We offer very affordable startup support services like web hosting, web design, graphics design, Bulk SMS and training,” he said.
“We have a world class offer of collaborative space that comes as a package of free Wi-Fi, free printing, free training, free incubation, free consultation and free address.”
Twesigye said TechBuzz Hub is expanding at a rapid rate and has more developments in the pipeline. He plans to establish five more branch locations in major Ugandan towns over the next few years, and also hopes to start funding startups.
“We plan to have a financing system in place so that startups get powered up whenever launching is set. This will be to supplement on their financial capacity resources for expansion,” said Twesigye.
Getting off the ground has not been without its challenges, with the high costs of rent and internet the primary ones.
“We have perhaps had limited support from the government towards hubs to boost the tremendous job creation avenues being created through startups,” Twesigye said.
“The already alarming startup failure has kept back the starters and innovators due to fear of starting a guaranteed failure, while startups also have limited or no funding.”
He said many African tech hubs had yet to identify the most efficient models for sustainability, but was confident the likes of TechBuzz Hub would be able to do so without relying on grant funding.
“We look forward to being a self sustaining social enterprise. But if grants are available, we cannot fail to expand our impact,” Twesigye said.