- IPA2018 Jury Members gathered in Luanda to review and shortlist the prestigious Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA) submissions.
- Week-long activities featured a workshop on submitting winning IPA applications and informal discussions between IPA 2018 Jury members and Angolan innovation enablers on building inclusive innovation ecosystems in AfricaLuanda,
Angola, 31 May 2018 – Fábrica de Sabão in collaboration with the African Innovation Foundation (AIF) hosted a week-long series of niche activities aimed at facilitating collaborative opportunities between local innovators and innovation enablers. The event took place in parallel to the IPA2018 judging session aimed at shortlisting the submissions of the prestigious Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA), which will be awarded this year in Kigali, Rwanda, October 11-12.
For members of the IPA2018 jury, who comprised of leading innovation specialists and influencers from across Africa and the diaspora, it was an opportunity to witness key developments in Angola’s emerging innovation ecosystem and to observe how hubs like Fábrica de Sabão are working to narrow the gap between the formal and informal sector by driving needs-based innovation. Amongst the key innovation influencers who were present were Aminata Garba, Assistant Professor at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, Africa; Dick Kamugasha, Director, Technology Development Centre, Uganda Industrial Research Institute (UIRI); Éliane Ubalijoro, Professor of Practice, Public-Private Sector Partnerships at McGill University’s Institute for the Study of International Development in Canada; Kaburo Kobia, YALI Regional Leadership Mentor, Center East Africa program and Yacouba Diawara, NBL Program Office Director at the US Department of Energy.
Tapping into the attendance of the illustrious panel of judges in Luanda, AIF led discussions on the importance of investing in inclusive innovation ecosystems and to identify opportunities to galvanize support for the continent’s growing pool of innovators. For the Angolan Government, represented by the Secretary of State for Science, Technology and Innovation, Domingos da Silva Neto, the discussion was a magnificent opportunity for interaction between his Ministry, the mentors and actors focused on innovation in supporting the promotion of entrepreneurship in Angola.
“These kind of events can contribute to the improvement of the innovation ecosystem, from the phase of attracting ideas to drawing up projects and transferring results in order to implement innovation in Angolan businesses,” stated Mr. Neto.
During the discussion, participants made recommendations on key issues that continue to impede the promotion of innovation on the African continent, including the need to promote innovation amongst all segments of the population such as women, youth and those living in disadvantage areas; the strengthening of internal and regional partnerships for the promotion and reinforcement of good innovative practices; the promotion of research and ensuring that the research output is capitalized on; facilitating collaboration between researchers and grass root innovators and the need to adopt policies that catalyse the financial support and transformation of valuable creations of inventions that are emerging in Angola and the continent in general for industrialization and creation of new jobs.
Pauline Mujawamariya Koelbl, Managing Director, African Innovation Foundation, said, “Innovation-led growth is crucial for Africa’s ongoing socioeconomic transformation. It is therefore necessary to invest in inclusive innovation ecosystems and to encourage inter-regional collaboration amongst African innovation enablers. Hosting a high profile pan-African and diaspora audience in an environment like Fábrica de Sabão allowed a great opportunity to highlight key developments in Angola’s emerging innovation ecosystem, identify strategic synergies, and showcase how inclusive innovation ecosystems like Fábrica are necessary to promote sustainable growth for Africans of all creed.”
In touring the facilities at Fábrica de Sabão, guests were able to observe firsthand how the hub has been designed to support inclusive innovation-led growth in Angola. Located in the heart of one of the largest, most densely populated slums in the country, the hub comprises of a Co-working space, Incubator, Accelerator, MakerSpace and Cultural Connector. It is a unique innovation ecosystem that facilitates knowhow, capacity development, mentorship and creative exchange to drive needs based innovation amongst all sects of Angolans. The hub currently has a range of niche enterprises in its incubator program, ranging from recycled furniture production, technology and artisanal crafts.
Commenting on the events, (Insert name and designation of Fábrica spokesperson) said, “Fábrica de Sabão is unique in its approach and is designed to be inclusive of all segments of society including women and youth who are amongst the most vulnerable communities. The hub encourages all forms of needs-based innovation and enterprise. Through our partnership with AIF, we want to showcase to regional and international audiences that this is an innovation ecosystem model that can be replicated across the continent to fuel economic diversification and inclusive growth.”
In an effort to raise awareness and excitement for IPA2018 and draw greater participation from Angolan innovators for IPA 2019 and beyond, AIF also hosted a workshop on how to submit winning application. The workshop was attended by a number of aspiring Angolan innovators and senior staff from the Ministry of Industry and Education, Technology and Science.
About Fábrica de Sabão
Where once stood an abandoned soap factory now stands an emerging vibrant hub for sustainable innovation and entrepreneurship in Angola. Fábrica de Sabão (FdS) is Angola’s first innovation hub designed for Angolans to connect, learn, create and grow. It is an emerging ecosystem designed to leapfrog education challenges and drive socioeconomic inclusion and growth at all levels of society. FdS is a hybrid of incubator and accelerator hubs, co-working and maker spaces, and a cultural exchange platform. It will soon have its own local radio station and a residence program for visiting mentors and artists. From nurturing young African startups to supporting niche urban manufacturing, the hub will bring together experts and mentors from around the world to share knowledge, harness creative ideas into tangible outcomes and help launch sustainable businesses in Angola www.fabricadesabao.co.ao
About African Innovation Foundation
African Innovation Foundation (AIF) works to increase the prosperity of Africans by catalyzing the innovation spirit in Africa.
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