Increasingly, it seems more and more that is it crucial to ensure local buy in and strong community engagement from the start in the rural Hubs/Labs. The question then is about incentives - how do we make it attractive for local community members to ‘own’ the initiative? Who within the local community is best suited to leading it? What are lessons learned in this?
Attitude and Mindset
Change/influence the negative attitude of youngsters to agriculture, to saving and investing money, to addiction and to gender, with expectation that community and local government will open up and clans will give access to land and budgets (See for example Cool farming)
Important to start with community and local government, light trainings, competitions and attractive activities with cool image. Use successful role models from other rural places in movies or speeches. Bring in fun, comedy, theater, political participation, facebook group, focus on solving community issues. Realize that youngsters come and go, have studies, get a job. (rural Hub-Lebanon) Committee or steering group from ecosystem.
Set up a management (steering) committee with youngsters, people from community, local government and business people (nomination and selection rounds) to create ownership, provide business model, sell services etc. pay them some small money for this. Build up engagement is the biggest challenge. To organize some activities is not a problem. (See for example Jazzine Hub – Lebanon)
Awareness and Education
In many communities, Hubs, incubators, etc. are rare and new forms of organization. Informing community members about what Hubs are, how they work and what impact can be created is essential to their formation.
Incorporating youth community at every stage of the program from design and planning to implementation and evaluation. This happens in multiple steps from acknowledging the youth, to facilitating the identification and/or election of representatives, to educating and enabling the representatives to be effective in their roles (See for example Jazzine Hub).
Including the Government
Training for their regional, support services, co-ownership or involvement in programs, can increase trust with the community, and channel future effort/support from the government. Example: Government mandated SME committees in Uganda support enterprise development at all levels.
Involving the Private Sector
Encouraging private sector participation can be done by tapping into the sense of corporate social responsibility that exists in all industries and sizes of business. Identify what local businesses might be willing to contribute (financial and in-kind), and removing barriers and increases involvement.
Example: Enterprise Uganda’s mentoring models linked 1 mentor to 5 to 10 mentees, increasing the mentor's impact and reducing their time-involvement.
Example: SYLP in Somalia formed 'business advisory councils' and hired a private sector specialist to create a 'network of friends and champions'. This resulted in a 40 percent placement rate in internships.