A team consisting of experts from NextFab Foundation, and the CBC Group, initiated working for the Anambra State Government the project plan to establish the first active FabLab in Nigeria. After completing the context assessment and the Design phase a group of select Anambra state delegates decided to come to Athens on a learning trip to better prepare for the upcoming facility establishment.The majority of activities during their educational visits occurred within AstroLab, the first FabLab for social innovation, established and supported by NextFab Foundation. Additional visits were made in the best examples of similar spaces in Athens, this included the Serafio Makerspace run by the municipality of Athens, Athens Makerspace, Romantso & The Cube Athens.
Specifically, we discussed the dual focus we would like to achieve in FabLab Anambra split between the major focus on skill development and the additional supplementary focus on incubation and business development in the sector of manufacturing and services. The importance of serving the local community and a variety of different users was highlighted.
Serafio Municipal Makerspace: We initated our intense day of site visits with the Serafio center and in specific the Makerspace. Located close to the center of Athens and only 15min drive from Astrolab it has proved a good operational partners.
We choose to begin this example of a makerspace due to its similar focus with FabLab Anambra as well as, its similar ownership and operational model. Just like the one we are setting up in Nigeria, it’s also publicly owned and operated with a focus on providing access to digital fabrication technologies.
Its a space where the main focus in on education and free access to all. Introduction trainings to beginners are provided on a daily basis. The university of Crete are providing the technical advice and initiating the training of the municipal staff to be ready to run it by themselves within the coming years. Located close to the center of Athens and only 15min drive from Astrolab it has proved a good operational partner.
Athens Makerspace was one of the first for- profit makerspaces in Greece. Despite its small size, it’s composed of an active team of makers and provides a good example of how such makerspaces can also be privately funded.
Based on a typical membership model, each subscribed member receives a discounted price per hour in the use of different machinery. It recently also set-up the open- source machines from precious plastic. In 2019 it decided to change its model to non-profit and is expanding its educational activities.
Next stop: Athens Cube
The Cube is a place where people who love innovation, are open to new ideas and, actively work for positive change. They are home to many Greek and international startups, digital nomads, designers, developers and change makers.
More than a startup co-working space, accelerator or incubator, they are a « community melting-pot » where Cube members are encouraged to embrace learning, share expertise, exchange experiences and, celebrate success together. Throughout the seven floors of the building they host 20 startup companies with some of the most innovative members of Greece’s society
This was a very inspirational visit for the delegation as it proved a productive discussion with Maria & Stavros, founders of Athens Cube. Their more than 10-year experience was pivotal to help the delegation understand the importance of such spaces.