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"The idea was that we would work and talk together," says Erik Hersman, founder of the Nairobi, Kenya–based technology center iHub, "and that by putting a lot of smart people in the room, good things would happen." So far, so good: In 2013, the three-year-old iHub passed 10,000 members. Hersman and a few dozen colleagues created the center as a hybrid between a coworking space and a university commons, a place that could house startups, offer superfast Internet connections to freelancers, serve as an office for Africa's most ambitious coders, and link Kenyans to a host of outside companies—such as Microsoft and Intel—seeking to connect with local technologists.
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