New Year, New Projects: mLab, Kenya

The last few months have been quite busy for us … and in very positive ways.   We are happy to announce that grants agreements have recently been concluded with the European Union, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Hewlett Foundation, and the World Bank.  These grants will fund new projects that support the strategic vision of the Web Foundation. Over the next couple of weeks, we will introduce each of these new projects in detail.

Today, we briefly introduce the mLab East Africa Initiative, funded by the World Bank / Infodev. Stephane Boyera briefly mentioned this a few weeks ago in another post, when he went to Kenya for the first face-to-face meeting.

This initiative is driven by a consortium comprised of iHub, eMobilis, University of Nairobi and the Web Foundation.  This winning team for the East Africa lab was announced in September.

mLab is a great opportunity.  The partners have a complementary set of skills and experience. iHub is already the mobile tech place in Nairobi.  The lab will be an extension of iHub, with a specific setting for business incubation. eMobilis has long experience in training, and will be able to extend their current activities to cover mobile applications. The University of Nairobi has track experience is market analysis and will be able to help connecting future entrepreneurs with market data as well as groups of potential users.

For the Web Foundation, this is a nice extension to our Mobile Entrepreneur in Africa project in Ghana. While we will be able to reuse and extend our training material to give entrepreneurs a higher probability of success, another objective is to capture similarities and differences between different countries, and understand better how specific actions could have a positive impact.

As part of our work, we will develop a repository of information for future entrepreneurs. This will include links to successful applications all over the continent, links to tools and document, links to Kenya -information, etc.

In terms of schedule, the mLab will open during the first quarter of 2011.  The first training session will be completed by mid year. The details of recruitment, programs, and events will be announced soon.

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