By Chris Armstrong

The EU-funded African European Maker Innovation Ecosystem (mAkE) project has now completed its first year of operation. Open AIR is one of several project consortium members (see listing below) for the initiative, which began in February 2022 and runs until January 2025. The project is supporting the work of, and interactions between, African and European hardware-focused Digital Innovation Hubs (DIHs) and makerspaces.

Key events where mAke was prominent in year 1 included: re:publica 22 in Berlin, Maker Faire Barcelona, the international Fab City Summit and Conference in Bali, the Africa Open Science Hardware (AfricaOSH) Summit in Yaoundé, and the Africa Makerspace Gathering in Cape Town. A key successful output in year 1 was the researching and production of seven case studies (five in Africa, two in Europe) on policy engagement by DIH/makerspace collective bodies. Core planned outputs for the next two years of the project include:

  • finalisation of a business models toolkit for DIHs/makerspaces
  • venture-building support to DIH/makerspace-linked start-ups, and pairing of high-potential ventures with mentors
  • a makers-in-residence programme fostering product collaborations between African and European makers
  • “Minister Meet Makers” policy collaboration events
  • piloting of a Maker Passport for mutual skills recognition among DIHs/makerspaces nationally, regionally, and internationally
  • piloting of an open contracting system for national/regional distributed manufacturing of products by collaborating DIHs/makerspaces
  • gathering of existing open educational resources (OERs) with relevance to DIHs/makerspaces, development of additional OERs drawing on mAkE project activities, and compilation of a massive open online course (MOOC) for DIH/makerspace managers and participants

The other mAkE consortium members are: