By Tafadzwa Muranganwa
Creative hubs are now havens for most young innovators and can realize their full potential if they are supported by both government and the corporate world.
These sentiments were echoed by Sean Ndlovu, co-director at Centre for Innovation and Technology (Cite) when he presented at the Zimbabwe Internet Governance multi-stakeholders workshop organized by Misa-Zimbabwe held in Harare last week.
“Creative hubs have a potential business that needs to be harnessed as they are a place where young enterprising creatives and innovators meet and discuss ideas that can empower themselves and foster economic growth and this can be done either by the government and the corporate world chipping in,” said Ndlovu.
The young innovator challenged creative hubs leaders to craft business models that can sustain the hubs rather than depending wholly on donor-funds.
“Most creative hubs are donor-funded and this is not sustainable in the sense that when funding stops they suffer immensely, so there is the need to come up with business models that will ensure that the creative hubs sustain themselves,” advised Ndlovu.
He went on to say that at Cite they had monetised some of the internet services they offer to the community.
“For example at Cite we have already started the initiative of commercialising some of the internet services we offer to the community there but obviously at nominal fees,” added Sean.
Dumisani Nkala of Telco(internet services provider) weighed in saying there was a huge potential revenue base in the ICT sector but regulatory taxes were inhibiting the growth of the sector.
She also added that this was the main reason behind why the country‘s internet charges were among the most expensive in the continent.
Technology has seen a number of young innovators and creatives in Zimbabwe coming up with startups and other initiatives that are empowering them though experts argue that there is the need for a better enabling environment for them to realise their full potential.
It is against this background that there has been an upsurge of creative hubs like Cite and Tech Village in Bulawayo, Moto Republik, B2C Co-working Space and Stimulus in Harare just to mention but a few.
Last year Moto Republik creative hub nearly got demolished after the City of Harare (CoH) condemned the structure built of shipping containers as illegal, however, the demolition was stopped after the interventions of CoH Mayor Bernard Manyenyeni.