SWAHILI POT-HUB MOMBASA INNOVATION CENTER
By Paul Ndiho
Over the last five years, Kenya’s innovation spaces have grown from just a handful to hundreds. “Swahili Pot-Hub” is the first tech hub in the Mombasa and it’s designed to be a multi-functional space where developers and start-ups can work and grow.
Located in the coastal city of Mombasa, the Swahili Pot-Hub has been getting a lot of attention lately in the tech world, and for a good reason. It’s a place for innovation where enthusiasts and entrepreneurs come to solve every day technological problems. Mahmood Noor is the founder, Swahili Pot Hub Mombasa.
“Swahili pot hub is an innovation for technology and arts. We started it as a way of reducing unemployment by creating opportunities for young people. Who have creative minds in both technology and arts and the biggest problem they have is young people do not have a place to actualize some of the dreams and creativity that they have.”
Mahmood Noor says brilliant minds have never been in short supply in Kenya, but the channel to develop their ideas and help them grow into successful businesses has been a long time coming.
“We want Swahili pot to be known as a home of innovations. So that whenever somebody thinks of technical solutions, the first point of contact that they can think of is Swahili pot. Which is happening now in Mombasa.”
Noor wants to build an Eco-system that focuses on inspiring and developing young talent in technology, arts, and sciences, through networking, technical training support. The shared space and incubation concept is taking time to catch up in Mombasa. Similar areas in the capital, Nairobi, have helped many young people launch into the technology business.
“When we started the Swahili Pot Hub, we did not see it is impacting a lot So that’s when we decided to expand it and add the arts, and immediately we added arts and technology, the number rose from 70 almost 800 young people who are accessing and using the place.”
Like any start-up company, Swahili Pot Mombasa is not without its challenges. It relies heavily on volunteers.
“Our biggest challenge is that how do we empower these people so that they find a reason to come here every day and even for their parents to see that whatever they’re doing is benefiting them and benefiting the society.”
Analysts say IPO potential startups are growing in Africa and the market size of East Africa’s biggest economy makes Kenya, with nearly 50 million people, an attractive location. Several small companies have already grown out of the Swahili Pot Hub, many are dedicated to applying technology to solution-specific problems.