From the tradition of technology companies that have famously started in one car garages in Silicon Valley, to the local hobbyist that is modifying her car for slightly better performance, there is a long and ongoing tradition of innovation taking place in garages around the world.
GE Garages kicks off power generation skills training
Innovators like Kpakpando are precisely why GE is giving entrepreneurs the opportunity to work with technical experts in advanced manufacturing and production solutions to bring their ideas to life. Cutting-edge equipment like CNC mills, laser cutters, 3D printers and electrical engineering kits will be available for use, all in a state-of-the-art laboratory.
While we are not going to predict the next major breakthrough to come from a garage in Lagos or Lilongwe, GE is committed to supporting innovation within Africa, whether it originates in an academic environment or a space traditionally reserved for extra storage. In partnership with the Dangote Foundation and Points of Light, we are proud to launch GE Garages in Lagos, taking place from 23 June to 11 July 2014.
Already, creative-thinking entrepreneurs are making strides in solving some of the region’s most pressing challenges. Take for example Kpakpando Akaeze, a fourteen-year old with inspiring entrepreneurial flair. Kpakpando has invented a solution that generates electricity by processing urine and turning it into gas power, while at the same time producing drinkable water. After showcasing her prototype machine to GE Garages technical experts, they advised her on how to take her invention to the next level. GE has begun speaking with her about how to 3D print a battery rack on top of her device. The addition of the battery rack will enable Kpakpando to start a business recharging peoples’ batteries with the excess electricity she produces.
GE Garages will be followed by a long-term programme dedicated to training skilled, employable workers and creating employment opportunities among service suppliers within the Power Generation sector.
Stating the importance of the GE Garages initiative, GE Africa President and CEO Jay Ireland said, “With more than 400 employees in Nigeria, GE is committed to supporting economic growth by building a skilled workforce and driving entrepreneurial development both in Nigeria and across sub-Saharan Africa. GE recognizes the significant impact skills training can have on individuals, their communities and industry as a whole.”
While the power generation industry is forging ahead with reforms, there is a growing need for skilled engineers to support an impressive pipeline of projects. These projects include building power plants and improving an obsolete grid, which can sometimes be hindered by a shortage of technical experts to deliver innovative, modern solutions and services.
“The GE Garages programme was first launched in America as a programme dedicated to reigniting America’s interest in invention, innovation and manufacturing. In Nigeria, where innovation abounds but is often hindered by lack of technical solutions, GE Garages aims to help drive innovation into production. I am thrilled that GE Garages will kick-off in Nigeria at this exciting time,” Ireland concluded.
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