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Blog Article — December 15, 2023 — Rosina Naab

Unveiling the Makerspace Marvel: A Journey through Innovation in Cape Town

Embarking on a transformative journey, Make-IT in Africa, powered by Womhub, orchestrated a dynamic Makerspace program that brought together some of Africa's inspiring Makerspaces in Cape Town, South Africa. This immersive program went beyond the conventional realms of crafting prototypes, focusing on the fundamental adoption of technology, particularly its implications for Makerspaces in Africa. The aim was to explore how these spaces could leverage their potential within the broader innovation ecosystem and beyond, setting the stage for a groundbreaking learning experience.

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Selected Makerspaces from Eastern and Western Africa

Following a meticulous selection process, four Makerspaces—Fablab Winam and MoTiv Creations from Eastern Africa, along with Iroko Fablab and Innovate Labs from Western Africa—participated in this enlightening program. The agenda covered a spectrum of crucial topics, including the Future of Innovations, Circular Economy, Partnerships and Collaborations, and the Business Models and Sustainability of Makerspaces. Community engagement emerged as a core attribute, recognizing its pivotal role in creating impact and fostering a vibrant community of makers.

Masterclass sessions, led by seasoned experts, delved into Deeptech Innovation, R&D opportunities, skills development, and training. Notable figures such as Clayton Naidoo, Natalie Miller, and Craig Wing who spearheaded discussions on the Future of Innovation--- exploring the intersection between AI and humanity in the face of rapid technological advances. Wing emphasized the importance of unlearning and relearning, challenging makerspaces to rewire their thinking for innovative solutions.

Sustainability took center stage, with sessions on building inclusive ecosystems and understanding circular economy concepts led by Caitlin Wale. Workshops on sustainable practices aimed to empower Makerspaces to make a positive impact on the environment while fostering innovation. Financial sustainability was also a focal point, with expert speakers Victoria Harris and Saberi Marais sharing strategies on commercial models and innovation.

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Makerspace session on the Future of Innovation led by Craig Wing

Ecosystem Tour:

The program extended beyond workshop walls, offering an immersive Ecosystem Tour through Cape Town. Visits to R-Labs, Philippi Village, and Regent Business School provided firsthand insights into each organization's intentional community participation and how it shaped their programs and relevance.

This transformative experience ignited the spark of innovation, leaving a lasting mark on the African Makerspace landscape. As the program continues its odyssey, the ripple effects of inspiration and creativity are poised to resonate across the continent. A heartfelt appreciation goes to the Womhub team for orchestrating this incredible and insightful week-long activity in Cape Town.

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A visit to Philippi Village

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