Science-based innovators, stakeholders and policy makers are invited to join a collaborative workshop hosted by the Merck Accelerator at the upcoming Africa Startup Summit in Kigali, with a view to addressing the lack of accessible lab and prototyping facilities available to African startups.
The inaugural Africa Startup Summit takes place at the Kigali Convention Centre on February 14-15, via a partnership between tech startup ecosystem news and research platform, Disrupt Africa, and the continent’s leading tech conference, Africa Tech Summit Kigali.
Merck Accelerator in partnership with the International Sustainable Chemistry Collaborative Centre (ISC3) – is set to host an interactive workshop on day one of the event (February 14), with all conference attendees invited to participate.
The workshop aims to bring together science champions from the public and private sector, academia, policy makers, startups and hubs, to engage on ways to foster science-based innovation in Africa; specifically, with the intention of improving the access of startups and innovators to lab and prototyping facilities continent-wide.
In emerging regions – including Africa – ideation and prototyping is particularly challenging for young natural sciences entrepreneurs in terms of time and resources needed, as access to lab space, scientific instruments, tools, safety processes and experimentation is necessary to reach a minimum viable product (MVP).
While a multiplicity of laboratories and prototype centres exist – operated by corporate, academic and research institutions – and are often not used in full capacity, entrepreneurs lack access to data on available laboratory and prototyping infrastructure, which is accessible and complies with their technical and scientific needs.
“This workshop at Africa Startup Summit aims to start a conversation on how to improve the access of startups and innovators to lab and prototyping facilities on the continent. Something especially relevant now, especially with the good feedback from startups using our makerspace from our Innovation Center for rapid prototyping,” said Herve Kubwimana, head of Accelerator Africa at Merck.
The session will also provide startups with details of available opportunities for startups across Africa offered by Merck Accelerator and the Make-IT Africa programme, to quickly explore and validate the potential for co-creation and collaboration.