An incubator in Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso), are you serious?!
‘Ouagalab’ is not a conventional incubator though. It’s more a lab and a collaborative co-working space in a neglected zone in Ouagadougou. It’s based on the mis-conception that in Africa everybody is an entrepreneur. Well, that’s not entirely true. Yes, there is dimension of ‘do-it-yourself’ in the African tradition, in order to survive. But the point of an entrepreneur is to ‘process’ or ‘industrialise’ a solution, for that solution to be used by others who have the same problem. And to get that mentality there’s a need for a dedicated place.
Ouagalab is very much lead by his co-founder and president, Gildas Guiella, a positive forward-thinker with a very modern view on development: ‘Africa’s development is possible if we (Africans) realise we can do it for ourselves’. Gildas is not aiming where the Western World is now, but where it will be in the future. Hence in Ouagalab projects are already dealing with drones and opensource softwares such as OpenStreeMap to map malaria zones in Burkina Faso for example, with 3D printers or hich-tech. capters to provide farmers with good weather forecast reports, not to mention the reconditioning of old computers for deprived schools.
The Ouagalab’s crew has literally built the place themselves to lead by example, even making a wind turbine to sort out the energy challenge of such place in the context of a country where only 13% of the population has access to electricity. And yet they’ve got no back-up whatsoever from their government. The only subvention they got came from winning the ‘Micro-entrepreneur’ award from the ‘Francophonie’ community last year. Pity. Because Gildas and his friends really lead the way.
Check out our video to meet with Gildas Guiella!