The mAkE project celebrates its first anniversary 

  • mAkE is a European Horizon 2020 project focusing on hardware-focused Digital Innovation Hubs (DIHs), including makerspaces, as key drivers for local digital innovation in Africa and Europe. 
  • The 3-year project involves 10 partner organisations with equal representation in Africa and Europe. The consortium members are based in Ghana, Cameroon, South Africa, Spain, Denmark, Austria and Germany.
  • Among the main challenges, the mAkE project addresses the struggle of makerspaces and start-ups with finances by developing Business Models to make them sustainable and committed to Open Source, Open Science, and Open Data.

March 21, 2023

In its first year, the mAkE project has succeeded in producing new resources, a video, and taking the first steps towards: providing makerspaces, entrepreneurs, SMEs, and start-ups with open resources and new open standards and tools to enable them to build sustainable businesses; and fostering networks of local, smart production and cooperation between European and African Digital Innovative Hubs and other relevant stakeholders.

Barbara Kieslinger, the project coordinator, highlights the overall achievements of the project:

In its first year of implementation mAkE has progressed collectively towards its vision to create an ecosystem that is enabling distributed small scale manufacturing in Africa and Europe via an active, open and diverse community of Digital Innovation Hubs. With the insights gained from the analysis of open business models, the case studies on policy advocacy and the mapping exercises we have a solid base. In our second year we move on in co-designing our services and tools to create not only for but rather with the community.

The project aims at prototyping and implementing—across networks of DIHs/makerspaces—online open standards and systems for mutual skills recognition, mapping of machinery, and contracts for distributed manufacturing. Project activities are guided by 5 core goals: Make Business, Make Community, Make Skills, Make Infrastructure, Make Impact.

The mAkE consortium, composed of an interdisciplinary team from Africa and Europe, focuses on makerspaces as key players in local digital innovation ecosystems and global collaboration networks complementary to the current efforts in digitised and localised production in Europe and Africa. mAkE builds on existing networks of makerspaces as key drivers for local digital innovation in Africa and establishes mutual relationships and sustainable networks with European DIHs. Via capacity building activities mAkE aims to equip African makerspaces and their attached local SMEs and digital start-ups with entrepreneurial and digital skills, and offer concrete incubation, mentoring and matching activities to drive digital transformation. 

Among the main challenges around makerspaces and digital innovation, the mAkE project addresses the struggle of makerspaces and start-ups with finances by developing Business Models to make them sustainable and attractive for investment. In Europe and Africa, the business models will be for hubs, makerspaces, small enterprises, entrepreneurs, and start-ups.

On the technical innovation side, we are also working on developing a Mutual Recognition Standard for a Maker Passport and a Distributed Contracting System. The People and Skills Standard’s goal is to create a shared understanding of the explicit, implicit, tacit, and procedural knowledge necessary for individual makers to participate in and easily navigate a distributed manufacturing ecosystem. This navigation will be enabled by using a digital ‘Maker Passport’, the criteria for which will be defined by maker community members. In addition, a Distributed Contracting System prototype will enable testing of how decentralised manufacturing system could operate, engaging makerspaces from Europe and Africa to be part of a new production model. With an interconnected system and strong network, we can envision the day where production will be locally or regionally made-on-demand, respecting the environment and the values of transparency, fair trade and collaboration.


New outputs are available on the Zenodo platform, and on our resources page.

For media enquiries please contact: [email protected]

Download the Press Release here.

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme under grant agreement number 101016858.