#connecthubs training for Hub Managers— creative and social economy

#connecthubs Harare Cohort

From November 19 -24, hub managers from across Southern Africa converged in Cape Town and Harare for the first #connecthubs training program. All across Southern Africa, community pioneers are leading hubs that build opportunities for creatives and drive social impact. It’s not always easy to support a community with no support of your own. British Council #SouthernAfricaArts and Hivos decided to run a program to help grow and sustain the important work that these hubs do. The #connecthubs training launched with 46 hub managers representing 8 different countries.

connect.hubs is an initiative to support social and creative hubs in Southern Africa that drive the creative economies and create social impact in the region. Since creative and social hubs support diverse communities of artists, entrepreneurs, activists and culture producers in physical or virtual spaces, the hub training was designed to give 18 -35 year old hubs leaders an opportunity to connect to each other and collaborate.


The 46 movers and shakers manage hubs that cover a plethora of fields ranging from agriculture to the creative arts to technology and entrepreneurship, and beyond. In addition to that, they all have one thing in common: a hunger to amplify the voices of creatives as well as impact their communities.

From a vertical agricultural hub, working with preschool children to develop urban fun farms to a collective of comedians promoting stand-up comedy talent in Zimbabwe, this training brought to light the vibrance of the social and creative economies in the region. This further confirmed the breadth and wealth of talent that needs to be amplified.

The training covered six intensive modules: communicating values, serving community, team leadership and care, diversity and Inclusion, managing and sustaining business models and planning for impact, facilitated by NESTA. NESTA is an innovation foundation with a mission to help people and organisations bring great ideas to life.

All 46 hubs then got to meet each other at the virtual networking summit.

#connecthubs virtual networking summit

Michael Carelse from the ATOM Collective, a hub that brings creatives together through audiovisual showcases and its welcoming community, described the training as a beautiful and very important programme relevant to not only the social and creative economies, but to all industries. He highlighted its potential to shape the mindsets of creatives in their respective focus areas.

From Mauritius, Joelle Ducray advocated for more regional collaboration amongst hubs as a solution to expand their footprint, as well as forge opportunities and cultivate relationships.

Beaton Mabaso from Afrobloggers, a meeting place for creatives using the internet to transcend borders, immediately created a twitter moment to immortalize his experience at the Harare training. He then put up a directory page on his blog showing the hubsters he met during the program in an effort to continue conversations beyond the programme. Check it out >>

#connecthubs Cape Town Cohort

Next Up: British Council #SouthernAfricaArts and Hivos are committed to supporting collaborative projects between hubs. A call for hubs to be listed in the connect.hubs directory is now open. All makerspaces, music studios, fablabs, collectives, online networks, co-working spaces, incubators, and more are encouraged to apply.

Hubs in the directory will be eligible to apply for grants to complete collaborative projects. Up to 20 grants will be awarded, between £2 000 and £10 000.

To learn more, see this post>>>

connect.hubs is a project by British Council and Hivos, with support from Electric South, Enthuse Afrika and Youngblood.