I’d like to dedicate this post to an article I’ve recently read on the so called Fábrica de Sabão, an innovation hub that has been established in Angola by innovation afficionados. Fábrica de Sabão is located in an old soap factory in the Angolan slum. I first learned about the idea behind the hub from an article that was published on the website of Jean Claude Bastos de Morais, founder of the Fábrica de Sabão. According to the article, the soap factory will “act as an ecosystem to foster innovation and entrepreneurship amongst Angolans.”
The reason I became interested in writing a blogpost on the article is, because I find this to be an interesting innovative concept on the micro-level. As you know, I usually address innovation at a macro level or in the context of social or corruption related forces. However, I’d also like to discuss specific innovation concepts in and about the African continent, which is why I am always keen on finding interesting articles like the one I’m writing about now.
So, what are the goals the founders of Fábrica de Sabão are hoping to achieve?
The factory seems to somewhat serve as an innovators melting-pot where business developers, craftsmen and urban creatives can come together, use synergies and bring innovation forward. In the words of the author:
“Fábrica de Sabão will bring together key influencers from around the world to share knowledge, harness creative ideas into tangible outcomes and help launch sustainable businesses. It will also be a place for locals to create art, music and crafts in an environment led principally by innovation.” (Source: jeanclaudebastosdemorais.com)
As the author points out, it is no coincidence that a location in the middle of Luanda’s slum has been chosen. The aim is to help the innovative people who haven’t been able to take part in the formal economy so far whilst preserving their creative and unconventional spirit. My biggest question however is how they can get the local population’s support. We will see how it works.
What is there left to say? Some of my earliest readers might remember my first post pointing out all the ways in which I was wrong about the African continent before I first went there and saw it’s innovative potential with my own eyes. Reading the article about the incubator hubs made me smile a little and think back on when I first launched the blog. In my opinion, the idea behind the innovation hubs is a perfectly fitting example for undermining what I said in my first post: There is so much creative potential in Africa. It’s great to see entrepreneurs doing everything that is in their power to channel this potential.