Image courtesy : youtube
Initiating and expanding an incubation centre in a country like Togo, which has always been a target for human rights records and political governance is like a bolt from the blue. Whenever we talk about technological advancements in Africa the only country that crosses our minds are Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa etc. Talking about the untouched territory of Africa in terms of technology is Togo, a narrow strip of land on Africa’s west coast.
Woelab is one such attempt which encourages the budding businessman to contribute to the innovative world. It is a shared innovations where daily innovation of virtuous productive collaborations are developed, according to their website. The place lays dormant technological potential that only needs to be exploited under the dual condition of free and transparent nursery of web, digital and ICT domains structures. It volunteers mutual assistance, free technological support for neighborhood craftsmen. It also partners with research centers and design schools. It provides support to institutions in the process of setting up their own Lab division.
It is an innovation and fabrication lab which aims at creating sustainable technology in a different local context.
The plight of the innovation has changed since it’s inception. Togo being a very small country has it’s youth always apprehensive about the entrepreneurship. In the beginning it was a pipe dream for the founder to spread the benefits of the first innovation hub of Togo. But he managed to accomplish the task by focusing on one individual at a time. Now, the scenario has completely changed for the better.
The Amazing Founder
Founded in 2012 by Sename Agbodjinou, 37 is a Togolese architect by profession. He had a desire of making the country’s youth walk on the entrepreneurship path. Also he always had an enthrallment for smart city projects which were mostly built by big companies in other countries of Africa. The establishment of such a tech hub is a stepping stone towards the making of capacity for such projects.
“The idea is to not have to wait for big companies like Microsoft and Google to build smart cities for Africa, and then promote their technology in the process. We can create African smart cities by launching lot of startups that will change the city from the bottom up,” Sénamé says. “Majority that come here have never heard of startups before, so it’s a place for everybody,” he says. He adds further, ‘The idea is to have lot of space where people can come, develop community projects that can evolve into startups that could actually change the city,”
Today, the hub could be seen growing with two spectacular building at two places in Lome which has 50 individuals involved in ten different communities project.
3-D Printer from waste
The lab was successful in creating a first African 3D printer from Africa. The idea came with the founder buying a 3-D printer for the lab. “We wanted to see how we could build a new one but with our own resources,” Agbodjinou says. With the success they are planning to put the printer in every school within one kilometer of the lab to boost technological learning. It was a huge breakthrough for the lab which shows the ambition to make Africa a tech-centered continent. It was a great example of what the founder calls as ‘low high tech’.
A big chunk of credit will be given to the incubator lab for whatever happens in the technological sector in the country.
3-D printer made from waste. Image Courtesy : 3dprint.com