Microsoft is bringing The Garage program to Africa with sites to be located in Kenya and Nigeria. The company says The Garage Nigeria, in Lagos, is currently in advanced planning stages, as are other Garage locations in Africa. New information reaching us including the search for a Senior Program Manager to lead the program confirms it is close.
The Garage is an extracurricular Microsoft resource for employees to connect, experiment and be creative outside of their day job. But that is not all, it will also be a creative space for hacking and making for the local tech ecosystem and Microsoft customers. Running hackathons, engineering internships, and an experimental outlet for its local students and tech communities.
There are 12 garage sites across the globe with the Africa sites to increase this number to 14. Microsoft could yet still increase this number with possible sites in South Africa, Senegal and Egypt.
I expect each Microsoft Garage site in Africa to have three dedicated lab sections just like all the other global sites. The lab sections will consist of a collaboration hub for hackathons and workshops, a Makerspace and an Advanced Makerspace. The advanced Makerspace will have an electronic workbench, 3D Printers, laser cutter, PCB milling machine for creating prototypes. A Reality Room dedicated to working in the space of Augmented Reality (AR) Virtual Reality (VR), and Mixed Reality applications and dedicated space and equipment for doing work on Deep Learning.
The Microsoft Garage in Africa
“The Garage is a program designed to support our employees’ creative ambitions and innovative instincts,” says Jeff Ramos, general manager of The Garage. “Every person at Microsoft has the ability to come up with a good idea. The Garage is here to help our great people shape and develop those ideas. We need a place for people to feel confident to take creative liberties, and that place is The Garage.”
Ramos says Microsoft is going to learn how to do business better worldwide by learning in Africa. Noting that in Lagos, Microsoft sees a tremendous opportunity to learn as a company and as a culture.
For Gafar Lawal, principal group manager at Microsoft ADC Nigeria it will be essential to both tantalize and satisfy employees’ creative curiosities. Adding that the Garage will support employees as they continue to learn at every stage of their careers.
Through the Garage, employee projects have gone on to become full Microsoft branded products or features. Notable ones are Kaizala, Microsoft launcher, Seeing AI, FarmBeats, Mouse without Borders and the Xbox Adaptive Controller.
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