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BILT Learning Labs are an opportunity for TVET stakeholders to explore specific 'Innovation and Learning Practices' from Africa, Asia-Pacific, and Europe. This Learning Lab took place on
24 March 2022, 10:15 – 12:00 CET, and focused on the makerspace training centre that is managed by Gearbox and operated by Machine Africa Network of Industries in Kenya. It was attended by over 80 participants from around the globe.
The Gearbox Makerspace and Product Development: Unlocking the potential of innovative entrepreneurial activities
Innovation always begins with creative ideas. Yet, most ideas never transform to tangible reality due to a lack of skills, means and funding.
As young professionals and entrepreneurs need to give operational form to ideas, they can be held back by the cost of the materials, machinery and electronics needed to build a prototype. Industries often have to solve real-world problems drawing on knowledge gained from research in order to produce new products or processes. Moreover, TVET applied research is the close link between research and efforts to improve TVET pedagogy.
To solve these major challenges, an innovation lab and manufacturing makerspace called Gearbox was set up in Nairobi, providing young Kenyan inventors with the equipment and knowledge to realize their concepts.
Participants were invited to learn firsthand about how this innovative Makerspace training centre project is fostering entrepreneurial culture from Gearbox Founder and Executive Director, Mr Kamau Gachigi, and Mr George Makateto, the current Director of Industries, Engineering and Construction Industries at the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives in Kenya.
They were joined by two successful entrepreneurs, Ms Nzambi Matee and Mr Nicholus Kimali, who profited from equipment and mentorship provided by Gearbox, and who shared their experience in building up their respective businesses and creating new employment opportunities.
Gearbox not only shares prototyping facilities and offers training in manufacturing, fabrication and design, investment opportunities and community development are also part of this Kenyan project that seeks to create 5 million jobs by 2023 under the Mastercard Foundation Young Africa Works Project.
Times are indicated in CET. French interpretation will be available.
24 March 2022
10:15 - 10:20: Online Arrival
10:20 – 10:35: Welcome and opening
How does the Gearbox Makerspace and Product Development foster entrepreneurial culture and employment opportunity in Kenya?
Moderator: Mr Wilson Lima Júnior, UNESCO-UNEVOC
Mr Kamau Gachigi, Executive Director, Gearbox, Kenya
Mr Kamau Gachigi is the Founding Executive Director of Gearbox Pan African Networks (known simply as Gearbox), a hardware accelerator that provides members with access to modern machines for prototyping and low volume manufacturing, including electronics PCB fabrication, representing a unique window into Industry 4.0 capabilities. He recently founded MachineANI, which runs two factories aimed at formalizing manufacturing in the informal sector.
Mr George Makateto, Director, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives, Kenya
Mr George Makateto is the current Director of Industries, Engineering and Construction Industries at the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives in Kenya. He is in charge of automotive/motor cycle, industrial spares, iron and steel, Agro machinery and construction materials.
Mr Makateto is experienced in Accreditation and Quality Assurance, Industrial Development, Promotion and productivity improvement.
Ms Nzambi Matee, Inventor, Entrepreneur and Founder of Gjenge Makers, Kenya
Ms Nzambi Matee is a scientist, inventor, engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Gjenge Makers Ltd. She pursued a major in Physics at the Jomo Kenya University of Agriculture and Technology where she obtained relevant foundational training in material science that she currently applies at Gjenge Makers Ltd.
Ms Matee is leading Gjenge Makers in its quest to be the leader in the alternative building products space and spearhead new technologies that can impact the affordable housing sector. All the while, providing opportunity, jobs and creating an ecosystem for recycling waste in Kenya. So far, Gjenge has converted the problem of plastic waste pollution into a solution in the construction industry. To date, Gjenge Makers has recycled more than 40 tons of plastic and created more than 130 job opportunities in the community.
Mr Nicholus Kimali, CEO and Founder at Fedha Electrics Limited, Kenya
Mr Nicholus Kimali is the CEO and Founder of Fedha Electrics Limited and an award winning embedded systems engineer with interests in various fields of electrical and electronic engineering such as embedded systems, microcomputer applications and industrial systems. He is also a graduate engineer from the University of Nairobi.
He is the designer of the leading and best-selling vehicle speed limiter device in Kenya, which is also being used in other countries including Nigeria.
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