By Franklin Ocheneyi
LIKE ants that don’t sleep, some young new players in Nigerian manufacturing landscape are working tick-tock to move the country away from traditional manufacturing to advanced manufacturing productions using 3D printers, CNC mills and Laser cutters.
General Electric (GE) Nigeria unmasked recently some of these new breed manufacturers that had undergone the requisite training at its GE Lagos Garage, a hub for advanced manufacturing-based innovation, strategy development and idea generation.
One of the beneficiaries, Temitope Ogundolapo, Creative Director, Kieva Desuwa, shared her experience: “The training at GE Garage has really been a great experience for me. Kieva Desuwa is a shoe footwear and accessory brand that creates footwear without sacrifice to personal style. Our products are 100 percent handmade in Lagos, Nigeria by our highly skilled team. We only design and create the best leather sourced locally and internationally to create classic shoes and accessories that can stand the test of time”
Another beneficiary Anjola Badaru, CEO, Elephab Manufacturing & Design, a company based in Lagos State, said: “Two years after GE Garage opened, I enrolled. I am coming from the background of a Mechanical and an Industrial Designer, I make parts for cars-brake pads, valves and things like that, metals and plastics component from 3D printers. We are trying to create substitutes for imported parts. If being able to get all the raw materials here in Nigeria, I don’t have to import and pay the duty, that is the challenge.”
Another upcoming manufacturer is Tochukwu Clinton, Founder Clintonel Innovation Center, Aba, Abia State. The company is also using 3D printing to produce removable mosquito nets you can clean when it’s dirty and you fix back. The GE Lagos Garage trained CEO, Clinton, said: “When I was much younger, I dismantled toys my parents bought for me and put them together.”
According to Patricia Obozuwa, GE Africa Communications and Public Affairs Director, a total of 141 Nigerian entrepreneurs have been trained at the Garage on advanced manufacturing and business development skills, in the last one year.
“The Lagos Garage, launched in 2016, offers a year-round series of skills training programs focused on building the next generation of Nigerian entrepreneurs. Till date, 141 entrepreneurs have graduated the program having been trained to use the latest in advanced manufacturing technologies; 3D printers, CNC mills, and laser cutters as well as in business development,” she said.
According to her, 100+ prototypes have been developed at the Garage with over 40 ideas being transformed into practical business models and about $1 million in funding has been secured by graduates of the program and 12 alumni businesses have won prestigious awards both home and abroad.
“When people come into the Garage“, they are exposed to advanced manufacturing technology. The Garage is there to build a manufacturing ecosystem and teach people the skills that are needed to be competitive in the future. These advanced technologies are new globally and in the same way that Nigerians have crossed the whole traditional telecommunications system and moved straight to mobile phones and adopted it in a big way, we anticipate that Nigerians will embrace these advanced manufacturing technologies and become immediately competitive globally,” said Obozuwa.