The Challenge

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How might we restore vibrancy in cities and regions facing economic decline? read the brief

Contribution

Affordable technical product design training for entrepreneurship

You don't and shouldn't need to have a 4-year engineering degree to build a modern invention that is commercially viable. Fab Labs around the world, including Kenya, rural India, inner-city Boston, provides people affordable means to invention.
Fab Lab (short for Fabrications Lab - but what a fabulous name, eh?) has a mission to offer affordable short-term training modules that introduce people to the tools and knowledge that they need to design and create products. Fab Lab also links inventors to investors and mentors who can help them with creating the business plan for their prototypes. 

Looking at blogs such as Afrigadget which showcases Kenyan local ingenuity, it's clear that people everywhere have the creativity and insight to create solutions that address their needs, but what they need is help in making their inventions commercially viable.

I believe that a key component of economic development is creating an infrastructure that breaks down the barriers to access to financial capital and knowledge/tools for people.  
Mission #4 Get Active

Comments

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Ken Endo

December 03, 2011, 06:10AM
I know Fablab as I am working in Media lab and also working with people in CBA. Fablab all over world has different perspectives and missions from location to location, but I agree that one of them is to train entrepreneurship of local engineers. But Fablab has broader view. Anyway, Fablab is one of my favorite project at MIT.
thanks,

Jane Bulnes-Fowles

November 30, 2011, 00:50AM
What a great idea! Not only do I love the idea of supporting affordable job training in general, but I specifically like that this training will help create entrepreneurs, innovators, and designers (which I think is crucial to the long-term health of any economy).

Whitney Quesenbery

November 27, 2011, 00:14AM
I haven't seen anything about apprenticeships. I don't mean unpaid internships, but hiring from within the community:

- Hire from the neighborhood. Train at the bottom; fund education for those who want it.

- Hire retiring engineers, part time if they want, to not only bring their skills, but to act as mentors.

I completely agree about creating an infrastructure that not only encourages invention and entrepreneurship, but also creates medium sized business that can create jobs and flourish in the community. It doesn't all have to be micro-business or huge corporation.
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