July 19, 2011, REDWOOD CITY, Calif. and LONDON — Omidyar Network and The Indigo Trust announced today their support and intent to fund the Co-Creation Hub in Lagos, Nigeria. The Hub is a non-profit, social enterprise centered around a shared work space where stakeholders from multiple walks of Nigerian life come together to collaboratively create tech-based solutions that address social challenges facing Nigerian society. It will be Nigeria’s first multi-functional, multi-purpose space dedicated to the creation of social technology ventures. Omidyar Network will grant up to US$200,000, and The Indigo Trust has provided a grant of US$45,000.
The Hub will accommodate 50-60 tech start-ups at one time and will provide pre-incubation services including: advice, training, mentorship and access to funding through a network of local and international partners. The Hub will also serve as a place for stakeholders to meet, brainstorm, share ideas and collaborate through partnership events, meet-ups, focus groups, hackathons, competitions and talks by guest speakers.
The Hub founders, ‘Bosun Tijani and Femi Longe, saw first-hand the impact of focused social innovation efforts through their leadership in the Social Innovation Camp Nigeria and Tech in Governance camp that took place this year in Nigeria. The camps yielded a number of technology initiatives focusing on issues such as government accountability, health information and crime tracking and reporting. Their goals for The Hub include helping to stimulate the creation of more than two dozen social ventures over the next two years. The Hub will open its doors in August this year.
"The Co-Creation Hub promises to foster the development of technology-driven social enterprises that will address many of Nigeria’s most pressing problems," said Stephen King, Omidyar Network investment partner. "The Hub will provide the environment, stimulation and connections to capital and expertise necessary to help Nigerian entrepreneurs launch their social missions to improve the lives of millions of Nigerians."
The grant represents Omidyar Network’s latest investment in innovative uses of technology for development and support of entrepreneurship in Africa. It follows the recent creation of the Africa Transparency and Technology Initiative and support of the African Leadership Academy and the Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship.
"We are delighted to support a venture which will create an enabling environment for African-led innovation, contextualized to local needs," said Francesca Perrin, founder and director of the Indigo Trust. "The Hub will bring together developers, innovators and business professionals, creating the right conditions to stimulate innovation and generate technology-led solutions that improve governance and support development objectives across Nigeria. We’re excited about the potential of Hubs. It seems natural to us that people should come together to share technical, human and social bandwidth."
About The Indigo Trust
The Indigo Trust is a grant making foundation that funds technology-driven projects to bring about social change, largely in African countries. The Trust focuses mainly on innovation, transparency and citizen empowerment. The Indigo Trust makes grants to African projects or programmes, or to organisations which operate at least partly in African countries. We believe that access to information for all empowers people to change their own lives and communities. Fran Perrin founded the trust that she now runs with her husband William. The Indigo Trust is one of the 18 Sainsbury Family Charitable Trusts (SFCT). The Trusts work and fund autonomously across many different sectors and geographic regions but share offices and administration. For more information see The Trust’s blog: http://indigotrust.wordpress.com.