One of the most profound revolutions the world has witnessed so far is the emergence of innovation hubs which has become a catalyst for driving socio-economic change through innovation.
What is a Hub
A Hub is an environment that provides Entrepreneur Support Services to startups by providing access to four critical resources: skills, infrastructure, funding, and network. Hubs include business incubators, startup (or seed) accelerators, co-working spaces, makerspaces, hackerspaces, and other structured innovation environments.
With the unprecedented rate at which hubs are facilitating the creation of ideas, we can therefore say that innovation hubs are seeking to provide solutions to the challenges we have in our economy today and this affects certain aspects of our daily lives – and for the most part, the way we handle our small businesses.
Below are five ways Innovation Hubs are helping to transform small businesses
One major barrier to the success of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is a lack of knowledge required to sustain them. Innovation hubs give these small business owners the opportunity to be part of a community where they can exchange ideas with peers and diverse people of like minds who share the freedom of being able to express themselves and their ideas without being shut down. This way, they see what other people think about these ideas and in turn, capture various inputs that can help update their ideas to a better version.
The use of digital technologies to enhance your business model provides new sources of revenue and valuable opportunities. Innovation hubs understand this and are well-placed to help introduce small businesses to the digital world. They teach them to leverage technology as a tool to provide exceptionally faster and accurate services to their customers.
When businesses go digital, they are able to make informed business decisions, save time, energy & money, and create a collaborative environment within their space.
Also read, The Innovation Culture
At the very core of an innovation hub is the desire to deliberately stimulate collaborations. They do this through training, workshops, meets & greets, knowledge sharing programs, and a lot more. During these programs, they link the SME owners to mentors who can take them step by step, through the process of achieving sustainability for their business. They expose them to new technologies, business opportunities as well as grant them access to funding opportunities.
Innovation hubs have the tendency to ignite the desire for socio-economic impact. They help these businesses understand that while they are focused on accumulating more revenue, they need to also be passionate about social causes and give back to their communities. This goes a long way in building awareness for the business within the locality and is a great way to draw in new business deals.
Starting a business from scratch can feel exciting. Before making the first move, we tend to dream up all the expectations that we believe will be met through it but we soon realize the difficulty in setting up a business that will be sustainable. Innovation Hubs help startups get through the initial hurdle of starting a new business by providing technical support as well as capacity building that would lead to the development of successful products/services.
Innovation Hubs have been programmed to apply different innovative rules to how startups work. When supporting startups, they position their focus on the key internal functions of the business that ensures that it is being run properly. They range from building confidence and technological capabilities in executives and teams to engaging business well, enough to showcase and co-create through training, mentoring, hackathons, competitions, incubation, or acceleration.
They also engage with potential partners, angel investors, venture capital firms, customers, and industries to identify opportunities that would be very useful to these SMEs.