Sénamé Koffi A. Mabizaa Badanaro
Who can benefit from this study?
Civic Tech initiatives
Organisation responsible for case study:
WoeLab – Create African smart cities by technology startups
Main Project Location: Lomé
Project country/countries: Togo
Project dates: –
Last updated: 23 March 2022
Brief overview of the Case Study
WoeLab is a grassroots network of inventors and entrepreneurs who want to build smart city projects or a digital democracy. This is an original initiative of the L’Africaine d´architecture, a platform that “anchored modernity”, which are attempts to make Africa the next technology revolution hub and was established by Sénamé Koffi Agbodjinou.
According to Senamé, the idea behind establishing WoeLab is to not have to wait for big companies like Microsoft and Google to build smart cities for Africa, and then promote their technology in the process. We can create African smart cities by launching lots of startups that will change the city from the bottom up.
The platform has been testing a smart city program in Lomé: “African Hub Cites” which is based on the observation of traditional societies, that is brining city dwellers to be part of the transformation and management of their environment.
WoeLab is defined as a Technological Democracy Space and was established to strategically serve projects related to urban utopia: it has a maker-space program, a coworking-space and is an incubator for innovative, technology-based businesses.
The challenge or problem
Togo youth expressed misgivings towards entrepreneurship.
The solution that was implemented
WoeLab operates a community system and it is open to everybody regardless of whether they come in with ideas or not. Each community is a product of ideas shared by members and then developed (incubated more or less) into a smart city project.
A person from outside can come in and ask to become a member of the community and when that transition happens, they will be able to contribute to any project belonging to the whole community.
WoeLab launched the “Silicon Villa” program with the vision of an “Autonomous Collaborative Base” This is a strategic approach to incubation based on collaboration and designed to achieve the financial self-sufficiency of all WoeLab projects.
The startups that originate and grow at Woe Lab are at service of each other and they form a kind of “total” ecosystem.
Before the startups are exposed to the real economy, the startups receive support from WoeLab such as strategy and planning, designing and visual communication skills and also assistance with website creation and management, among others.
What results were achieved?
Lessons and recommendations
Case study images