Luanda, Angola, 17 May 2017 – Angola’s vibrant innovation hub, Fábrica de Sabão, welcomed key accredited members of the foreign diplomatic community to observe Angola’s emerging innovation ecosystem and to understand how the hub is creating and driving new innovation-led opportunities.
During a guided tour, guests has the opportunity to observe the work that was being developed to support the country’s efforts to diversify its economy and witness how youth of all ages are engaged in a range of creative activities. One of the key attractions was the hub’s makerspace, where local youth were learning to apply innovative technology such as CNC machining to make a range of furniture for the hub’s office spaces, co-working space, canteen, and the new launched juice bar.
Speaking about the vision behind Fábrica de Sabão, Manuela Ganga, Director of the hub, explained: “We wanted to create an ecosystem that would be inclusive of marginalized communities, and that could drive needs-based innovation and support niche enterprise. This is why we chose to build this hub in the middle of the country’s largest slum.
“The environment here allows for creativity and innovation to thrive, and teaches local children, women, and youth innovative ways to learn and create with their own hands. Ultimately, the aim is to support the community to build sustainable businesses for themselves, which we can incubate and launch within this hub”.
Fábrica de Sabão is the only hub of this nature in Angola, being a hybrid of an incubator, accelerator, co- working space, makerspace and cultural exchange platform. . Currently italso provides office space on rent to local companies who are keen to be a part of the ecosystem. These offices are housed in repurposed shipping containers that have been refurbished with furniture, fittings and facilities such as electricity and Wi-Fi connectivity.
The hub recently launched an auditorium to host lectures and presentations and screen educational movies. Soon to come is the sports area replete with a skate park made from recycled materials, and a marketplace for the community. In the next phase of its development, the hub will introduce organic farming. A residential wing is also being constructed for visiting mentors and artists.
Fábrica de Sabão is built on land leased from the government of Angola and is an example of how the public sector is increasingly taking a keen interest in supporting inclusive opportunities for innovation and entrepreneurship in Angola.