In our series of exclusive interviews with AfriLabs Board Members, we are thrilled to present a dialogue with David Ogiga, Co-founder of Sote Hub—an initiative dedicated to nurturing young talents in Kenya. David serves as an AfriLabs Board member representing East Africa and holds the role of Board Secretary at Sote Hub.
Join us as we explore David’s insights into fostering innovation in East Africa, his vision for Sote Hub, and the transformative impact it has on the region’s emerging talents. Uncover the strategies, challenges, and triumphs encountered in the incubation of early-stage startups. This interview offers a unique perspective on the dynamic landscape of technology and entrepreneurship in Kenya, reflecting AfriLabs’ commitment to driving positive change across the continent.
David, could you share with us the inspiration behind the founding of Sote Hub and its mission in nurturing young talents in Kenya?
We started Sote Hub to give opportunity to youth especially in rural and urban poor in Coastal Kenya and to support them start and scale their businesses into the market place. Our name ‘Sote’ is derived from the Swahili word everyone which reflects our strive for social inclusion. Our sector focus is in Agriculture, Blue Economy, Climate Innivations and Digitisation and have so far supported over 800 startups over the kast eight years.
As an AfriLabs Board Member representing East Africa, what role do you envision regional hubs playing in the broader context of technology and innovation across the continent?
David Ogiga: Regional hubs play a pivotal role in the African tech ecosystem. They serve as catalysts for innovation, offering resources, mentorship, and networking opportunities crucial for startup growth. AfriLabs, as a continental network, provides a platform for these hubs to collaborate, share best practices, and collectively address challenges.
My vision is to strengthen the East African tech community through collaboration with other hubs, fostering a unified front in driving technological advancements and sustainable development.
What are the key challenges you’ve encountered in nurturing young talents, and how does Sote Hub address these challenges to ensure sustainable growth for the startups it incubates?
David Ogiga: One significant challenge is the limited access to funding for early-stage startups. At Sote Hub, we’ve been proactive in establishing partnerships with both local and international investors. Additionally, mentorship programs are tailored to equip entrepreneurs with the skills needed to navigate challenges. Creating a supportive ecosystem where knowledge-sharing is encouraged has been instrumental in overcoming hurdles faced by young talents.
Could you share with us the number of successful investments in your ecosystem, emphasizing their achievements?
David Ogiga: So, we’ve got Kuza Freezer doing wonders, tackling off-grid challenges in the fishing industry with solar-powered fridges. They’ve sold 200 fridges so far on a pay-as-you-go model, and guess what? 60% of those happy users are amazing women!
Then we’ve got Baus Taka Enterprise, the tech wizards in waste management. They’re providing top-notch, eco-friendly solutions to homes, businesses, you name it. Check out their awesome work here.
And don’t even get me started on Crab Shack! These conservation heroes are regenerating lands by planting mangroves—5 million and counting! Plus, they’re diving into the carbon market and even running a cool tourist spot with a crab farm. You can explore their adventures here.
Last but not least, Athel Technology bringing the future to our kitchens with their eco-friendly cooking solutions. Solar electric cookers, grills, and ovens – all equipped with backup batteries and solar panels.
Looking ahead, what is your vision for the future of Sote Hub and its role in shaping the entrepreneurial landscape in Kenya and beyond?
David Ogiga: The future holds exciting prospects for Sote Hub. We aim to expand our reach, reaching more young talents in diverse sectors. Collaborations with other regional hubs and leveraging AfriLabs’ network will be instrumental in our growth trajectory. Ultimately, I envision Sote Hub contributing significantly to positioning Kenya as a hub of innovation and fostering a new generation of entrepreneurs who will drive positive change across the continent.
This interview provides a glimpse into the dynamic initiatives led by David Ogiga and the transformative journey of Sote Hub in East Africa. Through strategic collaboration and a commitment to empowering young talents, both David and Sote Hub exemplify the spirit of innovation driving Africa’s tech ecosystem forward. Thank you!