RLabs set to inspire innovation
RLabs, a technology and innovation driven concept with hubs across the globe has launched the first Living Lab and Training Academy in Botswana.
The admirable concept which is the brainchild of Marlon Parker, a Cape Peninsula University of Technology lecturer, is being replicated locally by two young women, Tshepang Chilume and Oratile Moremong with the hope that it will address issues of unemployment especially among the youth by helping them identify opportunities within their communities and create their own enterprises.
The organization has entered into a partnership with Southern Africa Innovation Support (SAIS) and the Botswana Innovation Hub (BIH) to set up the learning academy in Botswana.
It aims to use education and empowerment opportunities through training and development, community living lab activities and incubation of social enterprises.
Chilume and Moremong are implementing a “hand-up” movement from within the community to empower members by leveraging technology, innovation, design and entrepreneurship as tools for change.
Although the first hub is being launched in Gaborone RLabs expects to extend its offering across Botswana over the next 12 months.
The official launch was held on the 20th September 2013 with the RLabs Academy programmes starting in November.
Commenting on the launch of RLabs Botswana Chilume said, “On Saturday 21st September we held our firts Social Innovation lecture facilitated by Marlon Parker.
We had 40 participants from graduates to high school leavers to professionals. These will be our first Academy graduates in December 2013”.
Moremong says admission into the RLabs is through application and that there is no age or academic restrictions.
“Anyone can apply including people who are already employed as well as students. We will be training people from the community and out of them we will also get trainers,” she added.
In its operation, RLabs having Botswana as their 21st global hub, will be offering scholarships for Academy programmes to people in Botswana through an application process, Living Labs a creative space where people can access internet, grow programmes and Idea Incubation.