NBIC sets up company to help SMEs develop products
Think it! Make it!, is a concept surrounding a new creative hub called the Fabrication Laboratory (FabLab) Namibia which joined the Namibia Business Innovation Centre(NBIC) at the start of 2012.
The concept for the idea was developed by Professor Neil Gershenfeld of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with the objective of creating a small lab with all machines needed to ‘produce virtually anything’, thereby helping entrepreneurs develop their products up to retail standard which gives entrepreneurs a competitive edge.
Speaking in an interview with The Economist, Manager of Fablab Namibia, Kirsten Wiedow said the company last year provided support, workshops and mentoring to various group with limited resources. They mainly focused on addressing product packaging,labelling of products and services offered by SMEs.
“On average I would say we worked with and assisted up to 100 SMEs, entrepreneurs and larger businesses during 2012. 2013 is a very exciting year for the FabLab, with continued support from GIZ in partnership with Transworld cargo, we will be erecting our modern green container building at the NBIC Innovation Village which should be completed by the end of February,” Wiedow said.
Fablab Namibia will also be offering constant mentoring and support during the set-up phase. “We are already mentoring SMEs in the furniture, textile/garment, food product and craft sectors identified as a major problem area that needed assistance,” added Wiedow.
Fablab Namibia has assisted large and small companies with branding and corporate identity in the fields of electronics, cutting edge technologies, food and food products, agricultural products as well as the textile/garment industries.
Furthermore, they have assisted with training and one-on-one mentoring on product design and packaging of a plethora of different products from children’s toys to high-tech items.