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Somalia Launches Its First Ever Tech Innovation Hub

Somalia is launching its first ever community-based tech innovation hub in the capital Mogadishu this month.

iRise, which will officially open this month, is a community-based innovation hub for Somali entrepreneurs, innovators, developers and investors to share ideas, connect and collaborate.

It offers an enabling working environment to members, with access to a pool of professional mentors and a co-working space.

A major part of iRise’s focus will be on research, with the hub to offer various consultancy services that include improving the quality of the data system through technology to help government, donors and aid agencies take more informed decisions.

It will also offer incubation and acceleration services, supporting new startups and entrepreneurs with trainings to help unleash their potential and launch business ideas into the market. Its incubation services focus primarily on sectors that fuels Somalia’s economic development, such as agricultural, fishery, education and ICT technology.

Co-founder and chief executive officer (CEO) Awil Osman said iRise’s goal was to develop the country’s tech sector.

“Our mission is to nurture and bring together the tech talent in Mogadishu and inspire them to create local solutions for local problems. On the other hand, we will also increase the competence of the local workforce by training and offering alternative solutions,” he said.

iRise might be Somalia’s first tech hub, but the country does already have an accelerator investing in local tech startups. It was reported in December last year three Somali startups shared US$15,000 in investment after coming out on top of a demo day that was the culmination of the inaugural Innovate Ventures accelerator programme.

The 12-week accelerator is an initiative of Innovate Ventures in partnership with the Work in Progress! Alliance and VC4Africa, and provides startups with intensive training and mentoring on business and operational skills, access to leading telecoms and banks, the chance to pitch in front of local and international investors, and the possibility of equity funding.

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