RECAP OF HARDWARE CONVENTION 2021
Category : Blog
Hardware Convention 2021 is a national conference that brought together stakeholders (inventors, makers, engineers, makerspaces, fablabs, hardware startups/entrepreneurs, academia, investors, etc.) in the Nigerian hardware (engineering) ecosystem to Aba, Abia State, Nigeria. This was a hybrid event (with both physical and virtual participants). Hardware Convention 2021 was supported by Ukaid through CovidAction (Local Production Local Solutions) – a project to build Technology and Innovation Pipeline for the COVID Pandemic and surface remarkable pivots and innovations dealing with the demand for unavailable goods.
THEME: Advancing hardware, engineering & manufacturing businesses in Nigeria
DATES: 26 – 28th August 2021
Introduction to Hardware Convention 2021 by Tochukwu Chukwueke
Hardware (Engineering) is at the core of national development. No nation can advance technologically or economically without a strong engineering capability. Negligence of the hardware sector is one of the major reasons Nigeria is suffering from 33% unemployment rate (one of the highest in the world) and 60% poverty rate. The hardware sector is responsible for producing and maintaining the tools, machines and equipment required by the manufacturing sector which is a major employer of labour. Today, Nigerian industries rely heavily on importation for virtually all the machinery they use, causing Nigeria to lose a lot of forex and the Naira to depreciate in value. Last year Nigeria imported machinery worth $9 billion, $3 billion for manufacturing tools. The hardware sector is also responsible for producing Military equipment as well as several consumer goods like electronics and domestic appliances. Until we pay serious attention to developing the Nigerian hardware sector, Nigeria may never experience any meaningful development, job creation or poverty reduction.
Hardware Convention 2021 aims to achieve the following:
- Draw attention to hardware (engineering) as a core of national development
- Attract investments into the Nigerian hardware sector
- Showcase the incredible ingenuity of Nigerian hardware innovators, engineers, fabricators and entrepreneurs
Introduction to Clintonel Innovation Centre (CIC) by Chinecherem Iheke
Hardware Convention 2021 was organised and hosted by Clintonel Innovation Centre (CIC) – a solar powered STEM Centre, Nigeria’s first Makerspace (Engineering Tech Hub) and Hardware Startup Incubator. Clintonel provides training, mentoring and equipment for young people to create engineering innovations, build indigenous products and startup technology businesses. With a vision to facilitate industrialisation in Nigeria, Clintonel has trained over 600 young persons in Computer Aided Design (CAD), Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM), Renewable (Solar) Energy and Entrepreneurship. They’ve also trained over 1,000 secondary school students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) using indigenous STEM kits developed by Clintonel. Hardware Startups incubated by Clintonel are now producing different indigenous products, employing several young persons and helping to reduce poverty in Nigeria. Through Engineering for Industry (E4I), a national program designed to bridge the engineering skills gap in Nigeria, Clintonel is partnering with tertiary institutions nationwide delivering industry based capacity building for engineering lecturers, students and fresh graduates. Clintonel is also working towards building medical equipment in Nigeria, in partnership with University College London (UCL) and COVIDaction (UKaid). In an effort to build and support the Nigerian hardware ecosystem, Clintonel started Hardware Nigeria Community (HNC) – a national network of Nigerian inventors, engineers, makers, investors and hardware entrepreneurs working to build hardware products and businesses in Nigeria.
To deliver on the mandate of building engineering capacity, generating employment and reducing poverty in Nigeria, Clintonel has worked with different partners including: PIND Foundation, ACT Foundation, Royal Academy of Engineering, Ford Foundation, Autodesk, ATOM, GEMINI, UKaid, UCL, etc. Clintonel is a licensed Autodesk Learning Partner (ALP) and Authorised Testing Centre (ATC) for different International Certifications.
Different industry experts spoke at the hardware convention sharing insights on different topics such as Supporting Nigerian Hardware Startups by Emeka Okoye, Role of Hardware in Industrialisation and National Development by Emeka Okafor, Local Production Local Solutions (COVIDaction) by Anna Crawford, Local Production of Medical Equipment (UCL Ventura) by Prof. Rebecca Shipley, Hardware Ecosystem Development by Jorge Appiah, BOI Funding for Hardware and Manufacturing Companies by Tony Alaegor, Building Scalable Startups by Chinenye Mba-Uzoukwu, Bridging Engineering Skills Gap in Nigeria by Julian Mbakwe, Hardware Startup Incubation and Funding by Ifeoma Malo and How Startups can benefit from Media and Storytelling by Chukwuemeka Fred Agbata.
The rector of Abia State Polytechnic Professor Okorie Kalu Osonwa, represented by the deputy rector Chikwendu S. Mpamugo, delivered a speech at the convention.
Similarly different panellists discussed different topics including: Hardware, Industrialisation and National Development, Nigeria Hardware Ecosystem Development, Engineering Skills Development, Funding for Hardware and Manufacturing. Panellists included: Tochukwu Chukwueke, Obasegun Ayodele, Abe Olatunde Peter, Ugo Okafor, Emmanuel Odunlade, Emmanuel Obot, Michael Ekwuribe, Innocent Oboh, Cletus Ekpo, Aaron Esumeh, Daniel Chinagozi, Uche Aniche, Mark Anthony Nduka-Eze, Uchechukwu Ogechukwu, Daniel Essiet, Ifeanyi Emmanuel and George Onukwu.
Digital Fabrication Workshops
Participants were divided into project groups and participated in different workshops usingthe Digital Fabrication Equipment at Clintonel Innovation Centre (CIC). The workshops included: Computer Aided Design (CAD), 3D Scanning, 3D Printing, CNC Machining,Laser Engraving, Laser Cutting and Injection Moulding.
The stakeholders at the event had a group discussion on Mapping Nigeria Hardware Ecosystem and shared ideas on how to advance the hardware community in Nigeria.
Different innovators and startups exhibited at the convention including:
FLI TECH: a technology startup incubated by Clintonel. They exhibited their prototype Medical Aid Alert and Communication System (MAACS) for hospitals. MAACS is a device that bridges the communication gap between patients and nurses or doctors within the hospital and even outside the hospitals through a mobile software application.
JAMBEKCOM SOLUTION: a renewable energy startup incubated by Clintonel with a mission to provide access to reliable, affordable, and clean energy anytime and anywhere. Jambekcom focuses on providing a constant power supply through their proprietary technology, a solar-powered laptop power bank. Their goal is to provide 10,000 customers with constant power supply before 2030.
VILSQUARE: The Volt Microscope is a personal and low-cost digital microscope that supports science education and labsin institutions across Nigeria.
ENGEDI LEATHER MANUFACTURING: a startup incubated at Clintonel which usesComputerized and Automated Leather Manufacturing Processes to produce quality leather products.
EBUSIN METALLIC: Ebusin is a civil engineering startup specialized in flooring and interior decoration.
EDNAM TECHNOLOGY CENTER: Ednam Tech is a renewable energy startup incubated at Clintonel specialized in inverter production, solar system design and installation.
E4I ACADEMY TRAINEES: Engineering for Industry (E4I) Academy is an industry skill building program of Clintonel for fresh engineering graduates. Trainees of the academy exhibited 2 projects on embedded systems and programming: Automatic Toilet Flush Control Device and Automatic Water Tank Switch Control.
The Aba Tour started at ADVANCED ENGINEERING CENTER (AEC): an indigenous engineering company in Aba which designs and builds products, tools and equipment for African manufacturers using digital fabrication technologies including 3D Printers, CNC machines, Laser Cutters, Injection Moulding Machines, etc. AEC produces Injection and Blow moulds (for plastic manufacturing), dies, stamps, spare parts, auto parts, machineries, etc. AEC is a subsidiary of Clintonel.
SOLID BASE TECHNICAL LIMITED: a precision fabrication company in Aba specialised in making Roller Printers for soap making, precision moulds like table water containers, etc. They have built moulds for PZ industries, Godrej Consumer Products Ltd (GCPL) – makers of Tura soap, etc.
CINVEUCH: a product development company which converts ideas to products. Presently building an assembling line for a new product – a new type of window frame for homes and offices.
The Aba Tour ended at JCI TECHNICAL: They build and install industrial machines and control systems across Africa. They build complete assembly lines for different industries including Agro, Allied and Pharmaceuticals. Products include: soap making machines, boilers, etc.
Hardware Convention 2021 Partners
The following organisations partnered with hardware convention 2021: Innovation Growth Hub (IGHub), TBWA, Innovation Support Network of Hubs (ISN), AfriLabs, Nigeria Society of Engineers (NSE) Aba, StartUpSouth, Hardware Garage, Techpoint, Hardware Nigeria Community (HNC) and Leather Products Manufacturers Association of Abia State (LEPMAAS).
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