Developing countries are increasingly embracing innovation and entrepreneurship as key to their social and economic development, and have implemented national business incubator initiatives as one tool for supporting this agenda. Business incubators can help entrepreneurs to leverage ICT in a global marketplace where information and networks are important competitive assets for spurring innovation.
Since 2002, with the generous support from its donors, infoDev’s Business Incubator Initiative has provided financial and technical assistance to more than 70 incubators in over 50 developing countries worldwide and has helped establish five regional networks of incubators.
In Africa, infoDev has provided US$2 million in financial and technical assistance. infoDev is currently working to build the capacity of more than 15 business incubators across the region, and to strengthen the pan-African network on business incubation (ANI), started by infoDev in 2006. The ANI is managed locally and aims to support incubation and other innovative small enterprise development activities in Africa by facilitating knowledge-sharing, training and policy awareness raising.
In addition to its direct support to African incubators and AIN, infoDev is also working with the World Bank and the IFC to develop policy frameworks for supporting national business incubation initiatives in Africa and to develop tools for designing and implementing sustainable incubator models based on
experiences from across the region.