Margrethe Vestager, the European Commission’s Executive VP, recently visited Gearbox during her official visit to Nairobi, Kenya. Gearbox is Africa’s first engineering innovation Hub that supports the development of hardware.
Margrethe Vestager made a stopover at the facility to tour the maker spaces at Gearbox to understand how the hub is supporting digital manufacturing.
(TOP: Dr Kamau Gachigi, Executive Director as she arrives at Gearbox – left – with Mrs Margrethe Vestager, the European Commission Executive VP for ‘A Europe fit for the Digital Age’ during her visit to Gearbox facility in Nairobi).
In her mission, Vestager has insisted that to become tomorrow’s entrepreneurs and leaders and to fully participate in the digital world, Africa’s population and young people particularly, need to acquire relevant skills and have access to technology and markets that will allow them to be fully involved in the present digital economy. Her mandate is on Digitization, the SME strategy and its industrial future, Technologies, Innovation, Competitiveness and Competition. She is also passionate about the potential of the digital age and how digitization is being affected by issues as artificial intelligence, facial recognition, and data spaces.
Commenting during the tour of the facility, Gearbox founder and Executive Director, Kamau Gachigi said: “Technology can and should be made by the people who live with the problems it solves. This is a key driver for the existence of Gearbox and is one of the reasons that the hub exists. We believe in building things that matter. For people to manufacture goods that will solve their everyday issues, they need access to powerful tools and support. Gearbox’s model for building maker spaces in this emerging market, is to provide that support, sustainably, while casting the widest possible net for local innovation. Africans have great ideas and incubating those ideas as well as allowing the great minds to grow is important for the continent’s development in this age defined by the 4th industrial revolution.”
The work of Gearbox has been recognized globally with commendations from a wide range of global leaders, including; Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg; The French Presidential Council – delegation of President Emmanuel Macron; delegation of British ex-PM, Teresa May; President of Slovakia, Andrej Kiska; The Vice PM and Minister of Development and Digital Agenda of Belgium, Alexander De Croo; The British High Commissioner, Nick Hailey among others.
Gearbox is the first engineering innovation hub in Africa. Located in Nairobi, Kenya, it is a non-profit organization that seeks to provide shared working space and support for talented inventors and technology entrepreneurs. This includes; provision of design spaces, capacity to develop and prototype ideas, provide Human Centered Development education, and develop value chain linkages which help innovators to build network and scale in bringing their products to market.
To date, Gearbox has supported the enablement of hundreds of people develop both themselves and their ideas, working across a whole series of innovation applications. In addition, it is supporting the return of skills to local communities to foster the growth of wealth within informal settlement economies.