Kenya’s Gearbox launches Lite programme with 7 hardware startups

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Kenyan makerspace Gearbox has today launched its Lite incubation programme, looking to provide seven hardware startups with access to equipment, knowledge, advice and funding.

Non-profit Gearbox launched earlier this year out of the iHub in Nairobi, with the aims of creating a unique space for members to showcase innovative ideas and share skills while also providing a platform for capacity building in line with the integration of hardware skills with the vast software expertise available in Kenya.

The organisation is already running a hardware acceleration programme alongside Village Capital, but has now launched Gearbox Lite with an initial cohort of seven companies.

“Gearbox Lite is a platform for manufacturing which provides access to equipment, tools, knowledge, advice, incubation and funding to electronics hardware technology enthusiasts. This is done on a membership basis, much like a gym. It is the first time this is being done in Africa, and is also a new concept in industrialised nations,” Gearbox said.

The seven companies making up the first cohort are energy company Clean Star, tracking company Gag, solar firm Strauss Energy, Sure Telematics, soil measuring tool Ujuzi Kilimo, Sasalog Technologies, and Electrotel.

After three months of catering to the needs of only these companies, Gearbox Lite will open its doors to the public.

“At that point interested people will be invited to take up membership at Gearbox which will provide them access to our tools and equipment. We plan to demonstrate that local companies can be launched which create and sell sophisticated products that are normally associated with knowledge based economies. This is a significant step for Kenya,” the organisation said.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent’s most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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