Our AfriLabs hub’s feature for this week took us to Sudan a country located in the Southern Sahara region of Africa.
We visited Impact Hub Khartoum where we met Sarrah Kheir the Business Development and Programs Manager of the hub.
Impact Hub Khartoum is a branch of a global innovative tree that nurtures the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Sudan. The hub was founded by Lena Elsheikh, Waleed Babiker, Khalid Ali, Husameldin El-Nasri and Ehab Osman.
Since 2017, the hub has been working at the crossroads between innovation and society where it creates and empowers a community to build impact through its shared space, curated interventions, and connections to the wider ecosystem.
Impact hub Khartoum network is represented in 5 continents with over 100 locations and up to 17, 000 innovative members across the world. Its members include freelancers, designers, educators, engineers, researchers, and students.
“We are a social enterprise that aims to enable, inspire, and connect local entrepreneurs.
We elevate entrepreneurs’ work by providing space facilities, connecting them to a network, and providing them with capacity building resources for innovative growth.”, a statement from the website reads.
Sarrah herself asides from being the hub’s program manager is also a serial entrepreneur with a passion for recycling and regenerative economy, while speaking about the driving force behind Impact Hub Khartoum, she noted that the Sudan-based innovative hub is supporting Sudanese entrepreneurs in developing their businesses, building capacity and raising awareness.
According to its website, the hub’s vision is to nurture a vibrant and growing community of change agents, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders who represent the different sectors and areas of enterprise.
In the same vein, its mission is to bring change through social impact and enable socially responsible businesses.
Speaking on how the Sudan-based hub is set to achieve its stated objectives, Sarrah said that the hub is building a conducive ecosystem, bringing all stakeholders together and developing curated programs.
Explaining further Sarrah said that hubs can therefore foster innovation and entrepreneurship in their local communities through programs, capacity building, workshops, discussions.
“At Impact Hub Khartoum, we focus on sustainable cities, agriculture and climate action. We work hard to provide all means of support to our members and community with the purpose of seeing successful entrepreneurs providing innovative solutions to the issues faced by the Sudanese communities”
Challenges and milestones
For Impact Hub Khartoum, the challenges facing the hub have been around the country’s instability, currency fluctuation, inflation, infrastructure, and resources.
However, in all these the Sudan-based innovative centre is supporting startups through the development of their business models, while providing ongoing mentorship and coaching sessions.
On how the government can assist hubs in Sudan, Sarrah identified the following:
Introducing policies and regulations that support entrepreneurship
Having allowances and exemptions for startups and SMEs
Creating specialized funds
Collaboration and partnership
Youth and women participation in tech
On Sudan’s reception towards STEM and how can it be encouraged right from basic school, Sarrah commented that it is much needed but public schools lack the infrastructure for it.
However, Sarrah stated that the STEM education program can be introduced to private schools first and eventually public schools.
For Sudanese women’s participation in technology, she noted that they are under-represented in technology.
“Specific technology-focused programs targeting females, capacity building, encouraging innovation around female-based issues, access to finance are some of the ways towards inclusion.”
Impact Hub Khartoum space aims to facilitate peer-to-peer support, business collaborations, and provide an overall inspiring environment for boosting innovation and impact.