Catalyzing the growth of the Kenya tech community

2011: Hivos Funding and Sustainability

By Erik Hersman
iHub
  Published 09 Nov 2010
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We're nearing the end of 2010, and the outlook for 2011 is brighter than ever. Thanks to all of the hard work by the tech community, we've succeeded in creating a fun, cool and useful place for us all to use - both the iHub space itself and the website.

Hivos Funding for 2011

To date the iHub's funding has come from private foundations that support Ushahidi - Hivos and Omidyar Network. This trend is continuing into 2011, as Hivos has agreed to cover a good portion of our running costs. This is a big deal for everyone, members included, as it means we can cover our fixed costs while we work towards generating enough revenue to make the iHub sustainable on its own in 2011.

Hivos has a history of investing in tech-related activities in East Africa, and one of the main reasons they agreed to fund the iHub in 2011 is because they're looking to see what other great projects come from our growing tech community.

Getting the iHub to self-sustainability

The iHub is set up as a Limited Trust Company, much like a foundation, it's a neutral not-for-profit that serves the needs of the tech community. This means it can make revenue, but the advisers and the staff don't get to take away the profits, those get invested into the space itself. Our goal, is to make enough revenue to cover costs, thereby having a self-sustaining space.

Currently the revenue streams for the iHub consists of just two areas: Red Memberships (10,000 ksh/month) and paid tech events (generally 50,000-70,000 ksh/event). Added together, these don't cover the running costs of the iHub, so we have to look for other, more creative ways, to offset our costs.

One way in which we're doing this is the area of research, where Jessica Colaco will use her experience as a tech researcher to our advantage. Another is through corporate partnerships, as seen with the recent Nokia sponsorship of the lanyards and Green Members welcome event last week.

This is also where you come in

The iHub itself is its own grand experiment, where we try many ideas and stick with the ones that work. If you have some ideas on how to make 2011 the year that the iHub becomes sustainable, let's talk!

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