Innovation Spaces - Republic of Namibia

Innovation Spaces within Higher Education Institutions include: the FABlab Namibia Technology Centre , which was established as a Centre of Excellence within the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) in 2014 (part of a MIT originating network of innovation spaces); Innovation Design Lab at NUST; Namibia Business Innovation Institute (NBII) at NUST and its Mobile Lab and Global Business Labs Namibia which is hosted by the University of Namibia and supported by the Finnish government funded regional SAIS Programme since 2013 to provide Acceleration services. The Bokamoso Entrepreneurial Centre (previously established as the Windhoek SME Incubation Centre) provided Incubation services and cooperated with FemTech Programme supported by SAIS Programme. The National Commission on Research, Science and Technology set up an Innovation Hub in Windhoek in 2016, which leverages the Demola model .

The Namibia University of Science and Technology hosts three Innovation Spaces: FABlab Namibia Technology Centre , Innovation Design Lab and Namibia Business Innovation Institute (NBII) . The FabLab Namibia Technology Centre is an advanced manufacturing, prototyping and design lab to support local communities, entrepreneurs and artisans to develop technological solutions to solve local problems. It was set up through a partnership with the Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and SME development, GIZ (Germany Federal Government) and NUST. Following visits to FabLabs in Kenya and South Africa funded by the Finnish Southern African Innovation Support Programme (SAIS) in 2012, FabLab Namibia Technology Centre commenced activities in 2014. MTI provided funding of N$7 million to fund the start up and equipment and GIZ provided funding of N$2.2 million towards the building and provided advice. FabLab provides access to equipment and training, design and prototyping services (including 3D printing), consultancy services and rental space.

The Innovation Design Lab is muti-disciplinary research centre. Current projects focus on solar energy water desalination and a solar utility vehicle. Students with NUST have the opportunity to participate in these research projects.

The Namibia Business Innovation Institute (NBII) was initially set up in 2009 as a centre of excellence at the Polytechic of Namiba (then known as the Namibia Business Innovation Centre (NBIC)) Its activiities focus around Innovation Marketplace (events to support entrepreneurial activities), Enterpreneurship and Incubation (Bootcamp - business plan writng workshops, Mentorship and market research workshops) and Research and Development (Mobile Labs and RLabs Namibia). The Polytechnic of Namibia (now known as the Namibia University of Science and Technology - NUST) also hosts the Mobile Lab, which provides a platform supporting students and professionals to develop localised mobile applications that address local community needs. NUST also hosted the ICT for Development Living Lab"

Global Business Labs Namibia was established in February 2013 in partnership with the University of Namibia. Primarily targeted at students and alumni, following screening four times a year, entrepreneurial teams are accepted in to the GBL accelerator program which provides access to co-working space, coaching and training, mentoring, networking and professional services from knowledge partners for 8 - 12 months. Regular lectures and networking events are organised.

The National Commission on Research, Science and Technology (NCRST) set up an Innovation Hub in Windhoek in 2016. It leverages the Finnish Demola model to support co-creation of projects undertaken by students and researchers over 3 months based on challenges provided by organisations from both the public and private sectors. It has organised a number of pitch events and events to showcase solutions developed.

NCRST is the focal point in the Southern African Innovation Support Programme (SAIS 2), which is supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Finland from 2017 - 2021. The SAIS2 Innovation Fund provides grants for locally implemented projects with partners from the beneficiary countries (Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia). NCRST is a member of the SAIS2 Connected Hubs.

Founded in 2003, the Bokamoso Entrepreneurial Centre in Windhoek provides incubation and co-working space for startups and early stage companies in the fields of crafts and jewellery making, clothing manufacturing, joinery and carpentry and innovative/solar businesses. The incubation programme includes counselling, ongoing mentoring, facilitation of business linkages, training and business seminars and access to IT. Discounted work space is provided for a maximum of 3 years.