WoeLab- HubCity :Integrating vernacular smart city
Soon Africa will become the most crowded continent on earth with 6 on 10 of the biggest urban areas worldwide. It will gain 380 Millions of inhabitants by 2035, up to a total of 2.1 Billions by 2050, whose 50% will be under 25 years old. While 60% of young Africans are currently unemployed, 94.5% of the 15 to 24 years old lives out of the informal economy sector, which represents 85.8% of the available job market. However with 81% of the population owning a mobile phone today, 70% of them will have access to the internet by 2025.
For all these reasons, African cities are becoming the epicenter of digital innovation. It is embracing all of the economic sectors: IT, banking, business, government, public services, transportation, infrastructures, agriculture, energy... Often starting with DIY low-tech hardware which ends up transforming the whole industry following a systemic innovation model, local entrepreneurs could solve most issues at the same time and playing a significant role in the digital transformation of the continent.
HubCity - the hub for urban digital commons, was founded in 2012 by the architect and anthropologist Sename Koffi Agbodjinou . An open innovation space dedicated to integrate indigenous urban innovation from Lomé, capital city of Togo.
A successful 10 years statement, proves his concept is valid: 400+ fellow trained, 12 startups currently mentored, 120+ public events, 12 active partners worldwide, 1300 sqm of coworking space, 30+ international mentors engaged. The next stage will be to duplicate HubCity in the major African cities.
Because decentralization is the DNA of HubCity, the scale-up will be the opportunity to organize a transfer of governance. The current ownership is being split into shares for future decision-makers. Each shareowner will be invited to candidate and vote for a board of directors. Sename will progressively introduce its partners, advisors, and mentors to the board of directors, and by 2025, after 3 years of co-management, the board of directors will take the lead on HubCity.
This is our first crowdfunding campaign, which aims to provide the funds needed to maintain the current activity for the next 3 years while succeeding in the transition to our next level of development.
“Reanchant the Smart City”, a 10-year commitment !
The “African HubCities” experiment was initiated in 2012 as a program of the NGO L’Africaine d’architecture. The bet was to show that tech- hubs (fablabs, makerspaces, incubators, third places) could participate in the virtuous transformation of their territory. L’Africaine d’architecture thus prototyped an alternative to the concept of ‘Smart City’.
The program allowed to create WoeLab (s) (WoeLab Zero then WoeLab Prime). In two places: 1300m2, the largest African tech-hub in terms of space. International distinctions, prizes, recognitions and citations have accumulated and the local impact is indisputable, WoeLab having founded the Togolese tech scene and inspired many innovation spaces in Africa and beyond. The initiative has especially achieved notoriety among models of social innovation advocating environmental protection, inclusiveness and redistributiveness.
3D printer in recycled computer waste, local electronic currency, cultural and local social network, urban and disruptive peer-to-peer services, etc. “African HubCities” and it´s WoeLab tech- hubs are pioneers in positioning third places as territory factories. Since 2011, have contributed to the international definition of the movement of circular, collaborative, contributory and sharing economies.
Self- financed for 10 years (nearly 450,000 euros invested in expenses, logistics of the Labs, grants for young people, social, program support, financing of startups, etc.), the initiative now wants to structure itself to address the challenge of its sustainability, scale up and export its experience to more cities by supporting public authorities.
It will become "HUBCITY " a company in social and solidarity entrepreneurship for the structuring of which we ask for your help
Participate in decolonizing the Future. Fund and get involved in a credible and proven alternative to dystopian technological urbanity !
HubCity will be the first company with a mission, entirely dedicated to solving the challenges of African urbanity and - considering the weight that African cities will have in global urbanity - to safeguarding the habitability of the planet. This campaign serves the ambition of structuring a HubCity ecosystem around the world, starting with Togo
Become a partner in a social, inclusive projet… and integrate a unique network of actors interested in the smart city based on digital commons and technological democracy !
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Organizer and beneficiary
Sénamé Koffi A.