West Africa’s technology sector continues to grow from strength to strength as more startups turn innovative ideas into useful products. From mobile banking apps to African-themed video games and digital agricultural platforms, the region is utilising entrepreneurial strategies which provide economic and social benefits. Furthermore, initiatives such as SheTrades and Nigeria’s passion incubator Collaborate support talented businessmen and women. Evidently, West Africa is investing in its business landscape at a rapid pace. The region continues to build connections with countries across the world. These connections extend the region’s global reach and attracts more attention to talent from the area.
Recently, a Nigerian startup called AfriLabs partnered with I/O Spaces, adding to the number of West African companies interacting with international companies. The collaboration between AfriLabs and I/O Spaces has important advantages for startups from the region and the US. The partnership could increase the US presence of AfriLabs hub members and encourage a continual sharing of knowledge between African and US entrepreneurs. Through this cross-continental connection, members of AfriLabs can access I/O’s creator community, events, online classes, and workspaces. African startups can expand to the US with greater ease because I/O Spaces provides a legitimate address for a company’s offshore incorporation and bank account creation. Each company receives bookings credits.
In a statement, I/O’s Spaces co-founder Leslie Tia said, “ “I/O Spaces is excited about our new partnership with AfriLabs…by offering our membership services to the AfriLabs network, we grow our member base across 27 African countries…and finally, a platform to hire both US and African diaspora talent looking to work for African-based startups.”
This plan promotes inter-continental trade in the technology and innovative scene and creates more job opportunities for individuals. Similarly, the Executive Director of AfriLabs, Anna Ekeledo matched I/O’s excitement.
Founded in 2011, AfriLabs, provides meeting spaces and creates a community for developers, entrepreneurs and investors in the tech scene. The company is dedicated to supporting the growth of Africa’s technology and innovation industry. Supported by Microsoft4Arika, AfriLab hosted its first collaboration challenge with the aim of developing ideas through inter-hub collaboration. In August 2017, the company had its first learning week for Hub Managers, as Making All Voices Count (MAVC) sponsored this event. AfriLabs has a number of other partners. It collaborated with ActivSpaces, The Barn, Hive Colab, iLab Africa, iSpace Foundation and Wennovation Hub.
This initiative is another example of how West Africa is moving forward and seeking ways of taking its economy and social infrastructure to a higher level, nationally and globally. Continuous internal innovations coupled with global connections creates more opportunities for African entrepreneurs in a different market. AfriLabs uses this plans as a means of offering a planet of resources to its hub members, which reiterates the company’s business-focused mission.
I/O is an award-winning innovation workspace for natives and startups from the African diaspora in Downtown Silver Spring, Maryland, that provides office spaces to over 100 startups.