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IHub logo.png
An open space for the technologists, investors, tech companies and hackers in Nairobi.
Formation 2010
Purpose Hackerspace
Nairobi, Kenya
Erik Hersman
Managing Director
Mary Gicharu
Website ihub.co.ke

iHub is an Innovation hub and hacker space for the technology community in Nairobi[1][2][3][4] that was started in March 2010 by Erik Hersman[5] a blogger, TED fellow and entrepreneur. This coworking space, in Senteu Plaza[6] at the junction of Lenana and Galana Roads, is a nexus for technologists, investors, young entrepreneurs, designers, researchers and programmers.[7]

iHub was a pioneering tech hub in Africa, but in 2014 was one of many technology hubs across the continent,[5] with a dozen in Nairobi in 2015,[8] and NaiLab operating within the same building until March 2017.

iHub provides a space where members can receive mentorship, business support services, access to startup and product development related workshops and events, and the possibility of venture funding through connections with the local and international venture capital community. iHub has been called the "unofficial headquarters of Kenya's tech movement".[9]

The space is a tech community facility with a focus on early stage entrepreneurs, web and mobile phone programmers, designers and researchers. It is part open community workspace (co-working),[10] part vector for investors and venture capitalists, and part incubator.[11]

The space was initially funded by Omidyar Network and Hivos. The lease was initially covered by Ushahidi and the 20 mb Internet connection is covered by Zuku.[12]

MLab East Africa

MLab East Africa (stylised as m:lab), is an initiative that "aims to foster innovation and entrepreneurship within the Kenyan community, with a focus on Web and mobile services."[13][14] It is not revenue generating for the iHub. It is a consortium of four organizations (eMobilis, World Wide Web Foundation, University of Nairobi, and iHub).[15] It has had input from the World Bank Group's infoDev program, under its Digital Entrepreneurship Program that is "scaling Mobile Application Labs (mLabs) ... in Kenya, South Africa, and Senegal".[16]

iHub UX Lab

The iHub UX lab is the first open user experience lab in Sub-Saharan Africa. The UX lab has a mission to develop a user-centered design culture in Africa by helping the local community learn human centered design methods that put the user at the centre of product development. As it stands, most solutions are still built with a tech-centric approach and therefore do not fully understand and design for the users' needs and context. Inevitably, most of these solutions therefore fail to meet the needs of the user and therefore have minimal or no adoption.[citation needed]


iHub developed and executed Tajriba, the first user experience month in Africa. During the month, it involved user centered design experts who helped with workshops for the local community (university students, start-ups, designers, developers, etc.)[17]


Building Africa's second high-performance computing cluster.[citation needed]

Events held at iHub


Notable people to have given talks at iHub include: Marissa Mayer,[18] Larry Wall and Vint Cerf.[19]


  1. ^ Zuckerman, Ethan (26 November 2012). "Ethan Zuckerman: 'Africa's hackers are today's world-class tech innovators'". Wired (website). Retrieved 6 December 2015.
  2. ^ "IBM Expands Reach to African Entrepreneurs with Innovation Space @ iHub". PR Newswire. 25 July 2015. Retrieved 6 December 2015.
  3. ^ Goel, Vindu (26 July 2015). "Facebook and Other Tech Giants Expand Internet Access in Africa". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 December 2015.
  4. ^ Anderson, Mark (5 January 2015). "Kenya's tech entrepreneurs shun Konza 'silicon savannah'". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  5. ^ a b Espinoza, Javier (29 April 2014). "African Tech Hubs and Funds Hope to Bridge the Digital Divide". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 6 December 2015.
  6. ^ Wainaina, Eric (2016-12-08). "iHub set to Move Locations from Bishop Magua Building to Senteu Plaza". Techweez. Retrieved 2017-05-12.
  7. ^ "The iHub - Technology Innovation Community". Retrieved 17 December 2016.
  8. ^ Analo, Trevor (2 September 2015). "Is Nairobi no longer the innovation hub of Africa?". The EastAfrican. Retrieved 7 December 2015.
  9. ^ Kinyanjui, Kui (21 July 2011). "Ihub Techies Roll the Dice As Venture Capitalists Place Bets on Inventions". Retrieved 23 October 2011.
  10. ^ Henry, Zoe (18 August 2015). "Nairobi Used to Be a Terrible Place to Do Business. How Did It Transform Into a Tech Hub?". Slate. Retrieved 6 December 2015.
  11. ^ Steadman, Ian (25 January 2013). "Kenya breaks ground on its 'Silicon Savannah' city project'". Wired (website). Retrieved 6 December 2015.
  12. ^ "iHub website". iHub website. Retrieved 23 October 2011.
  13. ^ "mLab East Africa". Retrieved 17 December 2016.
  14. ^ Jidenma, Nmachi (21 June 2011). "Kenya launches m-lab, Africa's first mobile apps lab". Retrieved 17 December 2016.
  15. ^ "Interview with Sheilah Birgen, CEO of m:lab East Africa - infoDev". Retrieved 17 December 2016.
  16. ^ "Digital Entrepreneurship" infoDev. Accessed 20 November 2016
  17. ^ http://www.ihub.co.ke/tajriba www.ihub.co.ke/tajriba
  18. ^ Angela Crandall (1 July 2011). "*iHub Blog Post". iHub Blog. Retrieved 1 July 2011.
  19. ^ Mutwiri Mutota (30 September 2011). "Vint Cerf at ihub: Internet Oldies meeting young techies". CIO magazine. Retrieved 30 September 2011.

External links

  • Official website
  • The iHub in Nairobi is here
  • iHub in Nairobi, one year later
  • Next Billion, best ideas of 2010

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