Gearbox is really two spaces - Gearbox Lite and Gearbox industrial. Both are spaces around which a supportive ecosystem for hardware entrepreneurs is availed, granting SMEs, startups and entrepreneurs access to tools that would typically be beyond their reach, thereby creating a pipeline of inventors and invention-based businesses by removing the key constraints to developing innovative hardware products in Kenya.
Gearbox Lite is operational and is a prototyping facility specialising in the fabrication of printed circuit boards (PCBs) for electronics. Gearbox Industrial is a larger space (35,000 sq ft) that will do the same but cover all types of manufacturing processes, from metal fabrication to plastics and composites. It will also feature co-location with local and international manufacturing firms, creating a culture of openness and collaboration and exposing newly trained engineers and entrepreneurs to global opportunities.
A learning centre will bring cutting edge knowledge of design and fabrication techniques to the local community, while incubation, investment, and business development services will help entrepreneurs bring new inventions and products to market quickly and efficiently. In addition to these core services, a contract manufacturing facility will give many of Gearbox’s members their first exposure to the world of professional manufacturing, while a research program will build a replicable model for supporting hardware entrepreneurship in developing countries.