Design Hub Kampala under renovation this year before it opened to the public. (Credit: Design Hub Kampala )
Design Hub Kampala under renovation this year before it opened to the public. (Credit: Design Hub Kampala )

The Hub Kampala, which was a creative collaboration space for creative and like-minded enterprising people, closed 2 years ago. It was founded by Jantien Zuurbier after finding it hard to balance between kid’s toys & noise as well as her web business. The Hub Kampala was located in Kamwokya.

However, 2 years down the road, Jantien is partnering with Mango Tree, a company that empowers Africa through educational tools, to resurrect The Hub Kampala in the name of Design Hub Kampala – in an even bigger space. Design Hub Kampala is located on 5th Street Industrial just after the Bata Factory Outlet. What is really exciting is its outlook – a warehouse – which she says is an inspiration from her love of art and culture.

It has taken Jantien over one and a half years to bring Design Hub Kampala to life, given that they had to abandon the first building they got – near Tuskys Bugolobi – on grounds that it was located in the railway path. However, with the new building, Jantien and Mango Tree seem to be on the right track. Design Hub Kampala is registered under Mango Tree Holdings though Jantien will be its director.

According to the architectural plan for the finished facility, which we had access to on Jantien’s permission, Design Hub Kampala is set to be one of the most comfortable place for both established companies and startups in Uganda.

It has office space for companies, meeting rooms, a co-working space for individuals and startups that can’t afford office space, an events facility for conferences, movie nights, exhibitions, small concerts etc. It also has a well fitted kitchen and a restaurant which will be run by Kigezi coffee and Kacoon – both Ugandan startups. There is also an open working space that is open to the public at no cost.

As one of the founding members, Mango Tree is also moving its offices to Design Hub Kampala along with its partners Design Without borders, Panya, Made In Africa TV (MIATV), Adengo Architects, Kigezi Coffee, Dragonfly Media, Delish Kampala – according to the message on its website. Other companies/startups moving into the Hub include 17 Triggers, Tunga, Healthy Entrepreneurs, Kampa Beats, Media Focus Africa and many more.

The hub shall offer both physical and virtual memberships in order to help as many startups and entrepreneurs,  as well as established companies, as they can. Both memberships carry a subscription fee which Design Hub Kampala declined to reveal as it’s still under consideration.

Photo Credit: Design Hub Kampala – DHK

Asked about how they expect to make money, Jantien told us they’re looking at renting out office space, membership subscriptions from both startups and individuals and renting out the events as well as meeting spaces. A desk space is likely to start from $50 per month. However, they declined to make a comment on the rates for other services as they haven’t yet reached a final conclusion

Kampala has witnessed a lot of Hubs/Incubators in the past 5 years however the question is, what value are they really adding to the startups and entrepreneurs in the Country? Some of the Hubs in Kampala include The Innovation Village, Outbox Hub, Hive Colab, Ventures Labs East Africa, Global Business Lab and many more.

UPDATE: Design Hub Kampala is launching on the 29th of April 2017. Details here.

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