Kenyan makerspace Gearbox partners GE for manufacturing programme

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Kenyan makerspace Gearbox has partnered GE Africa launch a GE Garages manufacturing programme to help build a skilled workforce and drive entrepreneurial development in Kenya.

Gearbox launched in August of last year and has just rolled out a hardware incubation programme as it looks to place itself at the heart of the reawakening of Kenyan manufacturing.

The non-profit makerspace has now partnered GE, as well as the University of Nairobi, Technical University of Kenya and Seven Seas Technologies, to launch a Nairobi chapter of GE Garages, which aims to bridge the technical skills gap in Kenya.

The programme will be hosted in the Gearbox space, running classes and workshops for students, entrepreneurs, makers and others to learn more about advanced manufacturing processes, software programming and business development.

“Gearbox is very excited about this relationship as it central to their objective of democratising access to opportunities in industrialisation,” said Dr Kamau Gachigi, chief executive officer (CEO) of Gearbox.

“Gearbox is in the process of assembling a formidable arsenal of modern machines and CAD/CAM software for digital fabrication, alongside more traditional but essential technologies, all under one roof to be made accessible on a membership basis to people who currently have no such opportunity. They will need to be trained on the use of this state-of-the-art equipment, but also in the soft skills that are necessary to leverage the tech-knowledge so as to successfully launch businesses. This partnership serves both needs.”

Gachigi said the GE Garage at Gearbox would prove essential to developing a continuous pipeline of people skilled in modern technologies and prepared to deliver tech solutions through business.

GE will provide equipment, while the University of Nairobi, Technical University of Kenya and Seven Seas Technologies will provide input to the programme as well as training facilities.

“We are delighted to collaborate with like-minded establishments on an initiative that aims to make more Kenyan youth employable in a fast changing technology-driven world” said GE Africa president and CEO Jay Ireland.

“I’m looking forward to seeing great ideas that come to the GE Garage being transformed into practical business models that ultimately create more jobs in Kenya.”

GE launched its Garages programmes in March 2012 in the United States, and has since expanded it to include several countries in Africa, Europe and the Middle-East.

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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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