The trip formed part of the students’ spring break study tour which included a focus on Namibia and Botswana with the aim to investigate economic strength and diversification of each of the countries.
The students were eager to engage with institutions that contribute to the growth of the local economy.
Laura Adelman, one of the MBA candidates said: “The facilities are impressive and the team has accomplished a lot in the manufacturing and design space. The work done here is an excellent example of innovative entrepreneurship taught at MIT Sloan.”
During the visit, the FABlab Director, Kirstin Wiedow and Deputy Director, Bjorn Wiedow, explained what the various equipment is used for and the future plans of their projects.
“They were also eager to learn about the job opportunities we create, which gender group we mostly cater for, if any, and other benefits for the economy. It was really our pleasure to host them, keeping in mind that the FABlab is a brainchild of their institution,” Kirstin added.
Bjorn spoke extensively about one of the laboratory’s projects that transforms discarded raw wool into potential job opportunities and has brought a new dimension to value-addition, entrepreneurship and recycling in Namibia.
The campaign, branded HERD, takes sheared, washed and carded raw wool and turns it into various products, including mats, bags and lampshades.
Internationally, the first FABlab was founded in 2001 at the Centre for Bits and Atoms at MIT, and has since grown to approximately 1 000 laboratories around the world.
The NUST Laboratory was founded and officially opened in February 2014 and is the first rapid prototyping and design laboratory in the country, one of the largest and best equipped FABlabs in Africa.