A technical lab, MAKlab, which is supported by and based in The Lighthouse, Glasgow, set up to help young entrepreneurs to access equipment, technology and training was confirmed a runner up at the Google Global Impact Challenge Awards, announced yesterday (3 June) at Google’s UK headquarters and as a result has won £100,000 and got 450,000 views on their YouTube entry during the voting process.

In March 2013, Google UK launched the Global Impact Challenge, inviting UK registered charities to tell them how they would change the world using technology.  10 finalists were shortlisted by a Google Team and four winners have been awarded a £500,000 Global Impact Award to deliver their projects.

With the £100,000 win, MAKlab intends to begin expanding their services in two other cities in Scotland and are currently speaking to venues in Aberdeen and Edinburgh. It would mean training up to 300 young people to use advanced creative digital fabrication technologies helping them to start their own businesses over the next three years, which is crucial given that almost one million unemployed 16-25 year olds currently exist in the UK.

Bruce Newlands, director, MAKlab added: “When we developed the MAKlab concept it was intended that it was a model that could be rolled out and other cities could benefit from this entrepreneurial service.

“We’ve had thousands of people use the Glasgow lab at The Lighthouse and many people have uses for it, from product designers to people making models and furniture.

“We are of course disappointed not to have won one of the main awards but we are thrilled that MAKlab has been recognised at a national level for its potential and we are now able to move forward with our plans in Scotland.”

Support from Creative Scotland and Glasgow City Council has been vital in enabling MAKlab to demonstrate the benefits of the facilities and support available.

Bailie Liz Cameron, Executive Member for Jobs and the Economy at Glasgow City Council, said: “This is fantastic news and provides national recognition of the quality of the outstanding work that has been taking place at The Lighthouse in Glasgow.  MAKLab use cutting-edge design and technology, and this award will ensure that our entrepreneurs continue to be at the forefront of this exciting new sector.”


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Notes to editors:

  • Ian Elder and Bruce Newland are available for interview
  • Link to original story via Techcrunch
  • Three of the four winners were chosen by a panel which includes Sir Richard Branson, Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Jilly Forster, as well as Google’s Matt Brittin and Jacquelline Fuller. The final winner was chosen  by public vote
  • “The Web’s contribution to economic progress has been much celebrated, but I believe that we are only scratching the surface of its potential to solve social and political problems,” said Berners-Lee in a statement on Techcrunch. “On behalf of the World Wide Web Foundation, I’m delighted to join Google in this exciting and innovative initiative.”
  • MAKlab was set up in May 2012, following funding support from Creative Scotland and Glasgow City Council. It gives young people access to digital technology to start their first business, fuelling economic growth and entrepreneurshiP training. This removes the often prohibitive expense of developing, manufacturing, and selling products, ranging from jewellery to new technical devices.
  • MAKlab is affiliated to the global Fablab network, a concept started by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2005. Fablabs release people’s potential, empowering them through open access to make things for themselves. These can be made to suit local or personal needs in a way that would not be practical or economical for mass production.
  • Being in the MAKlab can connect you to others throughout Scotland and globally to over 90 Labs around the world, a collaborative virtual space to share ideas and solutions. Using the fablab conferencing tool, you can ask for tips, get advice and share your ideas with people using fablabs all over the world.
  • MAKlab can also be used by businesses and is a key part of how the Lighthouse, Scotland’s Centre for Design will be supporting creative businesses. Businesses can start and grow within MAKlab and hopefully grow beyond it. The open design ethos of MAKlab encourages business to share ideas and collaborate across sectors.
  • MAKlab is supported by Glasgow City Council, Creative Scotland, the Royal Society of Arts and Firstport Scotland.