Leading Multinational, General Electric officially launched the permanent installation of the Lagos Garage on Tuesday The Garage is a hub for advanced manufacturing-based innovation, strategy development, idea generation and collaboration.
Co-located with the GE Lagos offices in Victoria Island, the Lagos Garage will offer a year-round series of skills training programs focused on building the next generation of Nigerian entrepreneurs. Participants will be trained to use the latest in advanced manufacturing technologies; 3D printers, CNC mills, and laser cutters in the first-ever fabrication lab in Nigeria, driving innovation in the country. They will also learn how to apply the core principles of design thinking, product development, finance, marketing, sales, and customer acquisition in real-time to their ventures.
Speaking at the launch, Lazarus Angbazo, President & CEO, GE Nigeria, said: “innovation and technology are fundamental for Africa to better compete in a global frame work. Innovation needs to be tailored to the specificities of local needs. “GE is pleased to encourage innovation in Nigeria and support SME development through skills-building initiatives such as these.”
GE created the Garages experience in March 2012 to reinvigorate interest in invention, innovation, and manufacturing in America. Programs have included custom projects, curated speaker sessions and workshops amidst a fully equipped advanced manufacturing space. This program went global with two workshops in Lagos in 2014 and has since grown to include several countries in Europe and the Middle-East.
Abdul Ahmed Mustapha, permanent secretary, ministry of wealth creation and employment who represented the commissioner said in his address that the Lagos State government is aware of the dearth of skill in graduates from the state university and polytechnic, hence it has taken a proactive measure to ensure that the curriculum is updated to meet demands of new technologies.
“Most graduates don’t have hands on experience on how to set up hardware,” he observed. Lagos State University Vice Chancellor is engaging with us right now. We told him to work with GE, Microsoft and Oracle to know what are their needs so that he can modify his curriculum to meet their needs. Instead of these companies spending millions of naira on retraining them.”
Speaking at the panel discussion Keturah, founder, Qeturah.com said what private companies need to do is to see how they can adapt the technologies and new innovations to schools.
“As a developer you need to begin to learn modern day language. If you are a techy person, you have to be in touch of what is happening in the world of technology. And private companies can help schools close the skill gap in schools.”
The popularity of the program led to GE’s decision to commission a permanent space for the training of young Nigerians in advanced manufacturing and business development. By assisting with the development of the advanced manufacturing ecosystem in Nigeria, GE hopes to create jobs, build local knowledge and capability, and encourage technology-based innovation in the manufacturing sector.
“GE is proud to launch the Lagos Garage, a hub that is dedicated to accelerating the impact of some of Nigeria’s most promising entrepreneurs. We have set up a learning environment that is different from the traditional. We are combining both the classroom and the real-world – providing hands-on training in advanced manufacturing,” said Patricia Obozuwa, Director of Communications & Public Affairs for GE Africa. We’re looking forward to seeing great ideas that come to the GE Lagos Garage being transformed into practical business models that ultimately create more jobs in Nigeria.”
While on the program and upon graduation, The Lagos Garage will provide the participants access to a robust mentorship network, supporting entrepreneurship with the aim of driving growth across all sectors of the Nigerian economy.