PoN inaugurates first fabrication laboratory

07 Feb 2014 13:50pm
WINDHOEK, 07 FEB (NAMPA) – The Polytechnic of Namibia (PoN) with the assistance of the Namibian and German governments inaugurated the first-ever Fabrication Laboratory (FabLab) Technology Centre at its Business Innovation Centre in Windhoek on Thursday.
The centre is aimed at providing Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and emerging entrepreneurs who are seeking to commercialise their business ideas, products and service innovations, with access to productive technology and expert guidance on product design, development and marketing.
Officially inaugurating the FabLab Technology Centre, the Minister of Trade and Industry, Calle Schlettwein explained that by establishing the centre, Government, PoN and its partners recognise and affirm the importance of the SME sector in the country's drive to reduce poverty, unemployment and income inequality.
The centre represents a practical step towards the realisation of the country's national industrial and economic development goals as encapsulated in Vision 2030 and National Development Plan Four (NDP4).
The centre will also bring about accelerated and sustained industrial capacity, economic growth and development.
“We also recognise that the acquisition of productive technology and innovation development is a complex and costly process, and is often beyond the ability and affordability of most entrepreneurs especially micro, small and medium scale business operators,” he noted.
The minister said the centre will help bridge the technological divide that often limits or prevents people who have the talent and passion to become self-employed entrepreneurs to realise their dreams, and those who have managed to establish small-scale businesses to reach their full productive capacity and operate successful enterprises.
“I believe this centre will go a long way to address such constraints by empowering and helping our budding entrepreneurs to turn their innovation business ideas into manufacturable and marketable goods and services, real wealth and job-creation for themselves and fellow Namibians,” Schlettwein said.
PoN Rector Tjama Tjivikua, who also spoke at the inauguration ceremony, said the FabLab contains small and large milling machines used to prototyping and manufacturing using either soft or hard materials, a ShopBot router for woodwork manufacturing, prototyping, creating furniture, music instruments, signs or boats, a 3D printer used for cost effective rapid prototyping, 3D scanner utilised in the manufacture of clothing as well as advanced prosthetics amongst others.
The MTI injected N.dollars 7 million towards the capital equipment and operation costs of the project while the GIZ contributed N.dollars 2.2 million for the building and furniture in the project, Tjivikua said.