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Press Release

GE Shows Commitment to Maker Faire Africa 2010

August 25, 2010

GE announces 'mentorship prize' for innovators and inventors

In recognition of the invaluable contribution entrepreneurship plays in economic development, General Electric (GE) joined hands with Maker Faire Africa 2010 as the lead sponsor for this year's event to be held at the University of Nairobi on the 27th and 28th of August 2010.

Now in its second year, the Maker Faire Africa creates a space for bringing to life, supporting, amplifying and propagating uniquely African innovations, inventions and initiatives. This year, Maker Faire Africa will witness more than 100 entries from across the continent -- ideas ranging from recycled materials used for making sunglasses to air and heat drying machines for food will be exhibited.

In addition to the sponsorship, GE announced a 'mentorship prize', which rewards an innovative & winning idea with the opportunity to experience the John F Welch Technology Centre (JFWTC) in Bangalore, India with Chief Scientist, Asokan Thangavelu. This promises the recipient to visit one of GE's renowned Global Research Centres and get one on one valuable counselling and mentoring on their innovation both from a technical and a commercial standpoint.

GE Commercial Development Director for East Africa, Deo Onyango said, "Solutions for Africa's economic growth must emanate from Africa to be wholly understood and integrated, and the Maker Faire Africa initiative has the potential to be the birthplace of African invention fundamental to the continent's development."

The initiative was born after a blog by Emeka Okafor indicated it "would be a powerful event" to bring together African inventors and innovators in the same way the Maker Faire does in the US. That translated into a snowball of activity among fellow bloggers, organisers and creative minds to bring to reality the inaugural Maker Faire in Accra, Ghana last year.

"We are delighted to have GE on board with us," said Erik Hersman, Maker Faire Africa organizer, "the engineers of the informal economy in Africa underpin the economy, create new inventions and drive new ideas into the mainstream. GE's focus on this part of the market is a testament to their vision for Africa's economic growth."

"Innovators and inventors are the source of finding solutions from the bottom-up - ideas ranging from accessible healthcare to decentralised power solutions to smaller rural communities. These are Africa's unsung heroes, as it is their understanding of what is needed rather than what is simply cool that translates into the most valuable economic asset on the continent today," Onyango added.

Thuli Phiri
GE Global Growth Organization
[email protected]

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