Al Jazeera reports:
The “maker movement” has been around since 2005, and has since spurred “do-it-yourself” or DIY mainstays such as Etsy, Creative Commons and open-source software. Some, however, credit the recent economic slowdown and a growing rejection of mass consumerism with bringing the maker ethic to the mainstream.
3D printers, one of the movement’s most noteworthy developments, can now create everything from buildings to human tissue. With the rise of DIY culture, these machines have become cheap enough for consumer use and could have many implications for nations in early stages of development.
Start it up.When that moment happens that the entrepreneur decides yes indeed they want to put their time, effort and creativity behind their idea the startup is then launched. The idea is born. And it can be a lonely place for the entrepreneur. The idea may be so simple (Twitter) or so complex (string theory) that friends, family and coworkers just don’t get it. The early stage entrepreneur is driven by vision, passion, risk, and desire to create something new. Build a business. Solve a problem in a new and dynamic way. Most people don’t get it…fellow entrepreneurs sure do.The economy and times being what they are, the idea must driven to some point of proof of concept before any potential investor would even consider looking at a business plan or executive summary and making a capital investment and bringing in their knowledge and rolodex. So where can an early stage pan-African inventor and entrepreneur find support, critical feedback, valuable introductions and creative ideas and input.
We are all connected.Entrepreneurs enjoy helping other entrepreneurs. Learning from one another, sharing with one another. Each and every entrepreneur and innovator has something to share, and something to learn from other people. How does it work? How does it make money? Who is the market? What are they overlooking? Who else should they talk to? What are related revenue streams? How will it get marketed? Should the idea be made more simple, or more complex?
When innovators and entrepreneurs connect at Maker Faire Africa they can share what they’ve learned and what they need to learn about with one another. Perhaps they are a truly innovative inventor but not the person to run and grow they company and need a co-founder. They can find that at Maker Faire Africa. Maybe they are the person that can run the company and grow the idea by need help with sales, marketing and distribution. They can also look to build those relationships at Maker Faire Africa as well.
What’s your problem?
When innovators and entrepreneurs are connected by some similar challenges, they can share ideas around how to meet those challenges. If the power goes out in your business every other day, what are the different ways that can be dealt with? How do you effectively deal with distribution challenges in many African countries (See Riders for Health). The bigger the problem, the bigger the opportunity. Sharing your problem with fellow inventors and entrepreneurs offers greater insights and the possibility of a better outcome overall. Also, unlike most government officials and academics, entrepreneurs will usually share with one another something very important, the stories of failure, what did not work, why it probably didn’t work, and what they could have done differently.
The connected community of pan-African makers is so important because very often people outside of that community don’t quite understand the problems and challenges because they are not from those local communities themselves. The challenges to a local entrepreneur driven by local government, cultural differences, environment, education and many varied nuanced minutia make it more difficult for a foreigner to offer meaningful ideas and concrete support (see development organizations in emerging markets over the last 50 years).
The Maker Faire Africa event provides local African innovators, makers and entrepreneurs a local platform to meet on another face-to-face, support one another, and help build and define their own culture of success. See you in Cairo.
Mark is a Co-founder of Maker Faire Africa. Follow his tweets @neddotcom
Our poster for Maker Faire Africa 2011!
Designed by our team in Cairo. We love it!
Yes there are. We’ve had some inquiries as to the two different Maker Faire events within Africa this year, so let us try to clarify the two fairs with this post.
Maker Faire Africa’s yearly fair is taking place in Cairo, Egypt this year, from October 6-8th. Maker Faire Kumasi is a ‘mini maker fair’, organized by our friends at MIT”s D-Lab as part of their International Design & Development Summit (IDDS) being held in Ghana this year.
The advent of Maker Faire Kumasi signifies the deepening of a maker community across the continent. We are delighted with the emergence of events that share the Maker Faire Africa ethos. We wish the Maker Faire Kumasi team the best and encourage our community to stay abreast of developments from Kumasi as they unfold. In the lead up to Maker Faire Africa 2011: Cairo, we will be announcing our full schedule of workshops & events. This year, the fair expands to 3 full days with workshops in Seed Funding, Industrial Design, Synthetic Biology, Arduino Kinetics, and more.
Maker Faire Africa 2011: Cairo presents makers from around Africa with the opportunity to interact with fellow maker communities across the continent.
Admission + workshops are free to all accepted Makers. Lunches and snacks are also provided, as well as some evening social activities. The top 6-8 applicants from outside Egypt will receive full scholarships which cover all travel to and from the fair, room accommodations, and meals. So we encourage Makers from across the continent to apply to the Egypt event soon.
Hope to see you in Cairo!
Maker Faire Africa is pleased to announce our 3rd event, ‘Maker Faire Africa 2011 : Cairo‘ which will take place in Egypt, October 6-8th, 2011. Join us once again as we continue to cultivate new and existing maker communities across Africa. As was the case in Accra (‘09) and Nairobi (’10), MFA 2011 will present and spotlight the vibrant and endlessly creative individuals that have come to represent the spirit of ‘making’ throughout the continent. These innovators, artists and tinkerers will be exhibiting a fusion of the informal and formal; ideas, inventions, hacks and designs both low-tech & high-tech. From cuisine to machines, come see their re-imagining of products, exploration of novel materials, and original solutions for some of the continent’s most important challenges and opportunities. Maker Faire Africa 2011 will be a celebratory showcase of unhindered experimentation and curiosity. We look forward to seeing you this October.
Visit our MFA2011 : Cairo event page for more details on how to participate.