A Model for Sustainable ICT Incubators in Sub-Saharan Africa

Title: A Model for Sustainable ICT Incubators in Sub-Saharan Africa
Author: Innovative Partners Inc.
Pages: 112 pp.
Publisher: Information for Development Program (infoDev) and the World Bank Group
Date (published): May 2009
Date (accessed): 03/01/2010
Type of information: research report
Language: English
On-line access: yes (pdf)
While technology incubators in the US and other developed countries have an implied mission of moving companies through a program, graduating them and sending them out into the community as part of a larger economic strategy, the absence of support infrastructure in the Sub-Saharan countries in question (excepting South Africa) is less well developed and there may be less incentive to graduate to another facility. In addition, the access to services which may be found in the local neighborhood in developed country incubators may be completely unattainable in Sub-Saharan Africa. Finally, there is the ever-present question of access to capital which, while available in the developed world is often simply non-existent outside of it.

To explore this area further, infoDev commissioned a study, with support from IFC, that had two primary aims:

1. Draw lessons from sustainable ICT business incubators to develop a model that could be implemented at scale in developing countries, particularly in the Africa region; and
2. Propose an investment framework for evaluating prospective and existing ICT business incubators, as well as innovative mechanisms for addressing the financing needs of the incubated SMEs.
The report produced from the study includes:

The findings from the study are provided in the report and include the following:

1. Results from detailed case studies of sustainable ICT business incubators in Chile, Colombia, Armenia, Jordan, and South Africa;
2. A good practice ICT incubator model based on the lessons drawn from these case studies, including how this model could be adapted and implemented in the Africa region;
3. Recommendations on how to evaluate a business incubator as a potential investment opportunity; and
4. Recommendations on how to leverage business incubators to address early-stage financing needs of SMEs

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