Lab to offer young Timorese exposure to new knowledge and technology
Timor-Leste’s first innovation and entrepreneurship lab opened this week, fitted with 3D printers, design software and world class fabrication tools, as part of an effort to spur greater innovation and new opportunities for the country’s young people.  or 3DI Lab was launched by the Government of Timor-Leste, with support from the United Nations Development Programme, and in partnership with the Asia School of Business. “Through the 3DI Lab, we want to create a one-stop shop where young Timorese entrepreneurs can learn business development skills, understand how to set up new businesses, and how to access to finance,” said Claudio Providas, UNDP Resident Representative in Timor Leste.  

“This 3D Innovation Lab is a creative space at Knua Juventude to empower youth to be job creators and entrepreneurs.

The 3DI Lab is intended to train young Timorese in new technology and new ways of working, integrating skills such as  communications, collaboration, critical thinking, problem solving and creativity.

Around 40 university students and high school graduates were trained to design and 3D print their projects, produce microcontroller-based products, and develop their business ideas during a five-day bootcamp on Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

“In only two days, we managed to create our own project using Sketchup and Arduino. At first we thought we couldn’t do it, but our professor taught us to think like a baby and just do it.” said Pascoela Joana Branco, one of the participants of the 5-day bootcamp. Another participant, Silverio dos Santos Correira also appreciated the opportunity the lab offers and hopes that the facility will be available for them to continue learning and testing new ideas and products.

“The Government has a responsibility to expand this programme in all Municipalities. We need to reflect what one of the youths just said, ‘think like a baby’, means that when starting a business, do not think like those who have money, instead start small.” said H.E. Ms. Dulce Soares, Minister of Education, Youth, and Sports. “We will explore ways to work with UNDP, because this programme is very important.

The 3DI Lab was officially launched by H.E. Mrs. Dulce Soares, Minister of Education, Youth, and Sports; H.E. Mr. Nelio Issac, Secretary of State for Youth and Sports; Mrs Catherine Kazmirski, Acting Public Affairs Officer of the Embassy of the United Nations, Mr. Paulo Alves, Director General of the Secretary of State for Vocational Training and Employment; Mr. Claudio Providas, UNDP Resident Representative; and two youth representatives.

“This Lab provides space for youth to learn to create their products, hopefully they can become entrepreneurs creating jobs in the future.” said His Excellency Mr. Nelio Issac, Secretary of State for Youth and Sports.

The 3DI Lab will serve as a national hub that will build the capacity of youth leaders, entrepreneurs, students from schools, universities, and institutions in the country on building 21st century skills and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). Ultimately, the innovation lab will provide a platform that will serve a catalytic role for human capital development, youth innovation and entrepreneurship, and inclusive economic growth to transform the country’s economy.

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