The Character of Software Startup Hubs in an Emerging Ecosystem
Paper in proceeding, 2020
Software startups face numerous challenges and many fail in the first two years. Hubs, as nurturing spaces provide incubation, acceleration and co-working space as services to startups to alleviate these challenges. Previous studies have highlighted how early-stage software startups operate internally. However, given that many early-stage startups are nurtured in hubs, there is a need to understand the hub operations in respect to the startups. Using semi-structured interviews with 10 hubs in Uganda and Kenya, we characterize and analyze their current practices and operations. The results show that most hubs combine incubation, acceleration and /or co-working space as services. They offer networking and team building events in addition to value addition activities. They also provide mainly business growth incentives and notice the business and organizational effects of their incentives. They too have varied selection checklists, provide incentives to alumni startups, and measure business, and scalability metrics. Startup hubs in East Africa are therefore prepared in addressing the business aspects of startups. They too may need to improve technical mentorship and can still learn from each other's practices.