Nekesa Were, the former managing director at iHub, has left the Kenyan innovation hub to join pan-African organisation AfriLabs, as an executive director, albeit on an interim basis. In 2010, Were was one of the first green members of the innovation hub before officially joining as director of operations in 2012.
She held the role for four years and in September 2016, she resumed as director of community where she oversaw the innovation hub’s change of location. Two years later, she was appointed as the managing director of the hub from May 2018 up until this month.
We are pleased to announce that the AfriLabs Board has appointed @Nekesa Were as Interim Executive Director, AfriLabs.
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— AfriLabs (@AfriLabs) April 23, 2020
Before working for iHub, Were worked for the Kenya Rugby Union in several positions, and a consultant and media associate for two non-governmental organisations from 2005 to 2012.
In her blog post, Were said she will be leaving the Kenyan hub after seven years in managerial positions and ten years of being part of the iHub community.
“As I close the iHub managing director chapter in my story I’m extremely grateful to family, friends and colleagues who on hearing the news of my exit have encouraged and affirmed me reminding me that my work is only just beginning. Different vehicle, same mission. I have seen the iHub to 10 – it has been a life-changing experience,” she said.
In those ten years, Were said iHub has supported over 700 startups with business support services and graduated over 150 from its accelerator programmes. She further went on to say that these startups have collectively raised $50 million while contributing over 50,000 jobs to East Africa’s economy.
Before joining AfriLabs as interim executive director, Were has been a board member at the pan-African organisation since 2017 and she will be replacing Anna Ekeledo who is on maternity leave for the time being.
Rebecca Enonchong, board chair of AfriLabs, has this to say about Were joining the pan-African network of over 200 technology innovation hubs across 46 African countries.
“Nekesa has been a key member of the African tech ecosystem for many years. We’re incredibly blessed to be able to leverage her breadth and depth of experience as she leads the Afrilabs secretariat during this period.”
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