Somalia-based incubator SIMAD iLab expands its offering
SIMAD iLab, a Somali incubator, has undergone a significant upgrade and expanded its services, marking a remarkable impact on the local startup ecosystem since its inception five years ago. SIMAD University, founded in 1999 and located in Mogadishu, Somalia, is a private university offering various undergraduate courses. However, five years ago, the university pivoted to become an "entrepreneurial university" with a primary focus on creating social impact.
As a part of this transformation, SIMAD University established SIMAD iLab, a tech hub that has made substantial contributions to the ecosystem. To date, this innovation hub has incubated nearly 50 startups, collectively raising over $500,000—an impressive feat in an emerging ecosystem. Furthermore, it manages a micro-finance fund with $3 million in support from DirectAid.
Building on its achievements, the hub has expanded its facilities, introducing an innovation theater, a creative digital studio, an executive space, and a dedicated area for startups and Micro, Small, and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs). This expansion further cements SIMAD iLab's commitment to nurturing entrepreneurship and innovation in the region.
One of the defining trends of Africa’s venture capital landscape in 2022, per a Briter Bridges report, was a notable growth in the early-stage support framework available to startups on the continent, involving angel networks, seed funds, and accelerator programs. As Africa catches up with the developed world in terms of technological progress - and more specifically the likes of Somalia play catch-up to leading tech economies like Nigeria, Kenya, Egypt and South Africa - accelerators, incubators, and pitch competitions help to bridge this gap by providing crucial access to capital and mentorship to startups. Accelerators, particularly, provide all-around support to early-stage startups, helping them find product-market fit, funding, and access to investors.