Stellenbosch University’s LaunchLab has recently opened its own Makerspace thanks to help from global distributor for engineers and makers, RS Components.

The LaunchLab is located on the Stellenbosch University campus and opened in 2015. Since opening some 215 startups have been incubated at LaunchLab and as many as 122 jobs have been created.

Chief executive officer at LaunchLab, Philip Marais, said that the makerspace was a long time coming.

“When we ran our first workshops about hardware development over the last few years we realised that there was a large group of people that was interested in this that did not attend our other events,” Marais said.

The CEO says that the firm had the space, it just needed a corporate sponsor to help fill it.

So, RS Components has sponsored R300 000 worth of tools, equipment and components that will be used to get the space up and running.

“Launching the Makerspace is opening the door to a permanent opportunity for that market of entrepreneurs to benefit from valuable connections and build world class tech. We are very grateful to RS Components for giving us the boost we needed to launch the Makerspace,” Marais added.

This is, according to managing director of RS Components South Africa Brian Andrew, the first official makerspace the firm has sponsored on the African continent.

“We partnered with the Stellenbosch LaunchLab because it has created the right environment for makers and engineers to experiment and evolve their tech ideas and concepts while gaining access to the right expertise and funding to launch start-up businesses,” said Andrew in a statement.

The makerspace opened on 30th and Andrew says that its launch may lead to more opening soon.

“RS has always supported future innovation and we feel that the LaunchLab Makerspace is a good place to start and build a footprint of makerspaces not just in South Africa but throughout the rest of Africa,” concludes Andrew.

[Image – CC BY 2.0 Dieter R]