Our Approach

The world’s greatest challenges, from clean water to connectivity, all require physical, manufacturable technology -- hardware -- to solve. Young people in low and middle income countries are better educated and more connected than ever before, but most still struggle to find the tools, the knowledge, and the community of support to build hardware that meets their needs.

A fortunate few are able to leave home and access the wealth of resources available around the globe, but that still leaves enormous untapped pools of talent unable to realize their full potential, and communities forced to rely on importing expensive and often inappropriate technology.

We provide technical, management, and financial support to leaders working to build their ecosystem for local hardware development. Sustainable hardware solutions require a complex mix of people, skills, knowledge, tools, materials, finance, buyers, suppliers, investors, entrepreneurs, and intermediaries to develop. We support place-based ecosystem partners working to create a center of gravity in their communities to bring these disparate groups together.

Our technical support programs are designed to address the challenges our ecosystem partners face in the course of making tangible, physical things. These can range from designing appropriate facilities and infrastructure, to sourcing equipment, supplies, and materials, to professional development for our partner’s staff.

In all of these cases, we connect our partners with global resources and expertise relevant to their specific needs. We facilitate exchange programs that place their staff in highly-professionalized environments around the world, and that embed highly skilled experts within the ecosystems we support. We make connections across global supply chains. We organize “train the trainers” programs, and we provide direct consultation.

Technical Support

Making Things

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Building sustainable programs requires robust organizational skills covering governance, finance, accounting, human resource development, reporting, and monitoring and evaluation. Many hardware ecosystem leaders are designers and engineers who are learning these things on the fly, while many practitioners (accounting, HR, or M&E professionals) don’t understand the particular challenges facing local leaders as they tackle innovative approaches to building better hardware.

We are creating a global network of professionals able to offer their expertise in these areas to our ecosystem partners, and we work directly with our partners to ensure they have the proper legal, finance, and back office systems in place to achieve maximum impact.

 

 

Management Support

Making Teams

Building hardware is a capital intensive process. Making physical things requires space, tools, equipment, supplies -- all of the things that make hardware “hard”. We work with a wide variety of donors, investors, and resource partners to bring the right amount and the right kind of capital to bear to ensure that those resources are used efficiently, and that our ecosystem partners have what they need to build sustainable operations and create meaningful impact at scale.

We regret that we are unable to fund unsolicited proposals.

Financial Support

Making Spaces

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Our mission is to put powerful tools in the hands of people who live with, and are working to solve, the most pressing problems facing low and middle income countries around the world. To do that, we focus on supporting partners that match our primary criteria in location, mission, and model.

Location

We support teams that are from and working in low and middle income countries. At least one of the founders should be from the country they are working in.

Mission

The project’s primary mission should be to support hardware entrepreneurs who are building sustainable, market-based solutions that serve the needs of poor users.

Model

The project should be working to improve their local ecosystem’s capacity to develop hardware, particularly through prototyping and low-volume manufacturing. It can be space-based (e.g. coworking or community spaces) or service-based (nonprofit solution houses or engineering firms), but must be committed to building financially, socially, and environmentally sustainable operations. We are very interested in makerspace models that address all of the above.

We also look closely at the makeup and experience of the founding team, their technical capacity, and the strength of the surrounding ecosystem.

Sadly, we can’t support everything we would like to. Our programs are by invitation only, and we cannot support unsolicited proposals.

 

Who We Support

Makerspaces

Let us know who you are and what you do!

Contact us and tell us about the work you or your organization are doing to support hardware entrepreneurs serving the needs of the poor, and how you would like the international community to support your work.

 

Other Ecosystem Leaders

Do you run an incubator, accelerator, community space, or other program that supports your local entrepreneurship ecosystem and want to know more about how to support local hardware development? Reach out to us here.

 

Donors, Investors, and Development Organizations

Keen to support high-impact hardware entrepreneurship ecosystems solving the world’s most pressing problems? So are we.

Contact us to find out how.

How to Work With Us

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