Originally published at icecairo.com.

After the greatness of last year in Berlin, the Afrilabs and Global Innovation Gathering (GIG) decided to once again bring back so many amazing people in one place for the re:publica 2014 INTO THE WILD #rp14 .

icecairo joined at least 29 other tech hubs, incubators, accelerators, and makers from the Afrilabs network, while more joined us from Asia and South America for the Global Innovation Gathering.  There were also special meetings between the different icehubs, including: icealex, iceaddis, and icebauhaus, one of the main organizers that helped make the whole thing happen.  As a bonus, “Primo” joined us from the Nubialin project in Aswan.

This is no attempt to give the whole picture of what happened, just a short summary of the awesomeness that took place.


The first day was an intro to the week long inspiration that affected so many of the cofounders and hub managers.  The Thingscon conference was taking place, where our friends from last year Simon (knowable.com) and “Max the Man” and a bunch more organized 2 days of making and The Internet of Things (IOT). icecairo was able to meet amazing people like Siert Wijina, cofounder of Ultimaker.  They also gave us a Spark, so come by and check it out at the hub!

The following day was our annual Afrilabs members meeting.  Tayo started the day with updates, followed by a talk by Hinnerk Hansen, The Impact Hub Managing Director.  Later, we heard from Jasmine from the 1% Club who expressed interest in the social innovation startup scene in Africa.

The group then continued discussions around the most pressing issues facing the Afrilabs network, about the Map, the Terminal & the Directory – all online tools to help hubs and the startups in their spaces.  We also formed five working groups or committees (they were stuck on some nomenclature for motivation purposes) to work on the main issues we had voted on last year: Women in tech; Strategy, Communication,


The next three days were dedicated to re:publica where so much was going on at the same time, it blew everyone’s mind.  The GIG alone had successfully organized all these events in:

  1. Its own stage this year, Stage 6 or Sechs in Deutsch
  2. The cool lounge, a converted old skool bus right at the entrance
  3. A Makerspace smack dab in the middle of the conference

One of 4 or 5 models of 3D printers at the Makerspace at re:publica

The rest of re:publica had some ridiculous amount of other stages, ta2reeban 20 or so big & small with a variety of talks.  It is Europe’s largest conference on weblogs, social media, and digital society, and everything funky in the internet culture.

Remind me to tell the community and  ice core team to check out Hip Chat, a team messaging platform that kicks Whatsapp ass, or so they guys told me.  So there were plenty of booths by some startups, some corporate too.

I will not even mention anything besides D Hasselhoff’s name (so lame) but there is also The Yes Men, who scored huge points with the crowd during the keynote talking about their hoaxes on institutions dealing with environmental issues.

ice at re:publica

The ice network was representing during the conference with Radwan, cofounder of icecairo,  talking about maker spaces and Fab Labs in Egypt, providing examples of all the projects that have already been carried out plus the bright future of awesome projects ahead.

“There’s great stuff happening @icecairo#Mo explains! @GIG_rp14@GC21EAcademy @BMZ_Bund @AfriLabs @hivecolabpic.twitter.com/LDzr3oueUc

— Brian Ndyaguma (@BrianNdyaguma) May 8, 2014

Radwan talking about makers and fab labs in Egypt

The GIG Lounge

icealex stepped up with both Bastawy and Moushira El taking on several roles with support from Afrimakers.  Moushira was a star at the GIG Makerspace, conducting a workshop on an open source laser cutter designed in Alexandria.  Ahmed Bastawy, cofounder of Ro2yaty and icealex, held a workshop about sustainable business models for makerspaces.

Moushira with the open source laser cutter at the GIG Makerspace in re:publica main hall

Basta Basha Being so Bad (Good in MJ’s world)

Great debate about how to encourage collaboration among maker communities with @AhBastawy #rp14 pic.twitter.com/jJDLPxTYTQ

— Afrimakers (@afrimakers) May 7, 2014

Bastawy and Teemu had a session on stage discussing the makers movement and various other nuances that address this fledgling movement in pockets around the world.

Teemu, icebauhaus, up on the podium telling them whats up on Makers movements as a general concept

During the conference, ice hubs were also interviewed by SciTv which is aired on ONTV.  So look for Radwan & Bastawy out of Egypt and Teemu out of icebauhaus!


Simon, cofounder of The Factory, listening in to GIG questions

With the conclusion of an amazing conference at The Station, we continued to explore Berlin as tech hub managers.  Our first spot was the new up and coming entrepreneur spot, The Factory, where they aim to be the next silicon valley.  It is home to Berlin’s entreprenurial success story Soundcloud.com (yes that one you have an account for) and also Mozilla. There, the crew met Simon, one of the cofounders who discussed their future plans and a tour of the location which is still picking up but mostly in construction phase.

Later we got to go to the notorious Betahaus for a tour and a look at the makerspace there called Open Design City.  After lunch, we had a Q&A with Max, one of the co founder of Betahaus who gave deep insights of running a coworking space and the challenges that they overcame.

Open Design City, the maker space inside of Betahaus

The group made a little detour to the Prinzessinnengarten, “It is where locals can come together to experiment and discover more about organic food production, biodiversity and climate protection”.  Afterwards we split up in different directions.  The makers enthusiasts ended up at Co-up coworking space and then C-Base. This is a crazy (kool) makerspace full of really wild techies who have a spaceship in their space and work on all kinds of digital undergound.

The Crew

Boots….Straps…The GIG

This was one of the best parts of the gathering of course, the actual people who are totally inspiring and motivated and passionate as hell.  They know about life, and try to teach others that there is an alternative.  I will see you back on our continent!


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