Science, Technology and Innovation are key drivers of economic and social development for countries that are looking to be at the forefront of leading nations.
Taking a cue from successful developing nations, it is quite observable that policies around science, technology and innovation have been well infused into strategies involving national development.
Therefore there is a case of promoting entrepreneurship and innovation which leads to economic growth.
In this week’s edition of AfriLabs hubs featuring innovation centers across Africa, we caught up with Yousif Yahya, the Founder and Managing Director of SAVANNAH Innovation Labs, Sudan.
The innovation labs was established in 2018 due to the lack of multidisciplinary spaces that support entrepreneurs and creatives in Sudan.
Following its establishment, the innovation center is dedicated to enabling the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the country.
SAVANNAH is a hybrid space that invests in dedicated future change-makers and offers meaningful content that enables them to compete within the local and global market.
Through access to its global network of seasoned mentors and seed capital, the Sudan-based hub aims to elevate entrepreneurs in Sudan by way of our programs and advisory services.
SAVANNAH helps foster global citizens and responsible leaders by educating, equipping and empowering those who are committed to building a better world.
The hub’s work is based on a Sudanese-centric model of partnership and collaboration.
“We catalyze on the growth and integration of social entrepreneurship, innovation, and sustainability to pursue meaningful and productive futures”
According to Yousif, SAVANNAH Innovation Labs is achieving its mission by serving as a bridge equipping entrepreneurs and creatives with the resources and know-how they need in order for them to scale out of their immediate local markets and into regional and global markets.
Innovation and entrepreneurship
On how hubs foster Innovation and entrepreneurship in their local communities, Yousif said that hubs serve as melting pots for ideas and resources, stating further that entrepreneurship, as we know it at large, is still at its infancy in Sudan.
However there a lot of great ideas of equipped with the right skill sets and resources that have the potential to grow exponentially.
On how STEM education can be encouraged in Sudanese schools, the founder said that younger generations are highly receptive to new information and tech however policymakers are still behind in adopting up-to-date policies that will help bring those programs in basic schooling.
While on the part of women’s participation in tech, the founder said the process in Sudan is weak that’s why, according to him, one of the programs the hub is currently designing is focused on catering to giving women not only the technical skills but the soft skills needed to thrive in tech
Challenges and milestones
According to Yousif, one of the challenges of doing business in Sudan, in general, is lacking the unpredictability and fluctuation in the local currency of the country. As part of its milestone, SAVANNAH Innovation Labs runs digital literacy programs in rural areas.
Government and AfriLab’s role
As stated by the founder, the Sudanese government can support by listening to hubs and acting on their recommendations not forgetting that hubs have direct access to the grassroots.
On the role of AfriLabs, Yousif commented that the organization has been pivotal in helping SAVANNAH bridging the gap between Sudan and the rest of the continent.
“Sharing with us what’s happening elsewhere so we don’t have to reinvent the wheel but just localizing it.”
SAVANNAH Innovation Labs strive to be the bridge between young Sudanese diaspora and Sudan.
SAVANNAH is also a founding member of the Sudanese Innovation and Entrepreneurship Network- A body that connects innovators and entrepreneurs to policymakers with a common goal to collectively reform and develop the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Sudan.
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