What is a makerspace?
A makerspace is a collaborative workspace inside a school, library or separate public/private facility for making, learning, exploring and sharing that uses high tech to low tech tools. These spaces are open to kids, adults, and entrepreneurs and have a variety of maker equipment including 3D printers, laser cutters, cnc machines, soldering irons and even sewing machines. A makerspace, however, doesn’t need to include all of these machines or even any of them to be considered a makerspace. If you have cardboard, legos and art supplies, you’re in business. It’s more of the maker mindset of creating something out of nothing and exploring your own interests that’s at the core of a makerspace. These spaces are also helping to prepare those who need the critical 21st century skills in the fields of science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM). They provide hands-on learning, help with critical thinking skills and even boost self-confidence. Some of the skills that are learned in a makerspace pertain to electronics, 3D printing, 3D modeling, coding, robotics and even woodworking. Makerspaces are also fostering entrepreneurship and are being utilized as incubators and accelerators for business startups. There have already been some amazing success stories that have come out of makerspaces to date. (From Makerspace.com)
What does MakerBay stand for?
MakerBay is an inclusive, industrious and innovative community of experts and novices, young and old, benevolent and entrepreneurs in the fields of arts, design, engineering and science.
Our vision is to develop a sustainable and prosperous civilisation through social and environmental impact.
Our mission is to provide education, awareness and empower makers with space, tools, community and services.
Our values are Integrity, Creativity, Resourcefulness, Openness.
When it comes to Maker Education, our priorities are:
- Empathy for social and Environmental issues
- Curiosity, Collaboration, Perseverance
- Creativity with design and fabrication tools
Why is Hong Kong the perfect city for makers?
Hong Kong is the perfect city for makers because:
- Hardware: You can get anything you want from Sham Shui Po, Mong Kok, Shenzhen Electronic Market, TaoBao, Alibaba. Over the counter or custom-made, ANYTHING!
- Business Friendly: For more than 20 years in a row, HK is the "Freest Economy in the world". No matter where you come from, it is very easy to register a company, open a bank account and be up and running in no time. HK has favourable labour laws, very low taxes and an effective online banking system.
- International: you can conduct all your business in English. Most western countries do not need a visa to visit HK and it is free. HK is the most cosmopolitan city in East Asia - the door to Asian markets, 5.5 hours flight away from more than half of the world population. And you can go from the heart of the city to the airport in 24 minutes!
- Intellectual Property: HK benefits from the "one country, two system" and is run by the Basic Law and solid intellectual property law to protect your IP.
- Convenient: Best public transportation system in the world (MTR), convenient taxis, and affordable van deliveries day and night.
- Safety: HK crime rate is one of the lowest in the world, so you are never worried about your family and your coworker's security.
- Freedom: HK enjoys free internet, fast wireless connectivity (4G) and free speech.
- Creative: HK is rapidly becoming Asia's creative hub with a vibrant creative scene (arts, design), innovation (science, engineering) and a booming startup economy.
- Culture & Food: Hong Kongers are known for their can-do attitude, education and an international mindset. People are obsessed with food here!
- Nature: when people think about HK, they think about towers, crowded streets and shopping. Wait! HK has amazing trail hikes, beaches, you can sail, ride a horse, do so many sports and most of it is so easily accessible!
- Small agile market: small is beautiful! HK small market and people's appreciation of new technologies and trend makes HK a great place to try new ideas.
- No, we're not working for the tourism bureau haha! But yes, we love Hong Kong! Welcome!!!
What are some of the challenges facing Hong Kong?
Sure, Hong Kong is amazing (read above) but it also has many problems! For instance
- Priciest home market in the world
- HK is one of the highest income inequality
- It is crowded
- It is rapidly ageing
- It is very biodiverse but suffering from intense pollution
- it is a consumer "disposable" society and lack of recycling culture
- It is highly dependent when it comes to water, food, energy
- not taking adequate care of refugees, ethnic minorities, cage dwellers and homeless
In many ways, Hong Kong is experiencing many of the challenges of a mature, post-industrial society. Many other places are experiencing the same challenges, but Hong Kong definitely has the resources to address these issues.
What is MakerBay doing about Hong Kong’s challenges?
As a makerspace, we can invent that can try to address these issues. MakerBay uses System Thinking, Design Thinking, rapid prototyping to lead workshops in trying to address these issues. You can see that many of MakerBay projects are about social and environmental issues, trying to address symptoms and root cause. MakerBay has a working map for making decisions which project it will take trying to maximize impact.
What about other makerspaces in the region?
MakerBay is an ecosystem builder. We love to help other makerspaces. In fact, we have helped build several other makerspaces in schools, universities, companies, in public spaces for events... So, in line with the good tradition of Open Source / Hardware, we love to promote our peers, the other makerspaces in the region.
Where can I buy maker equipment? Like tools and raw materials?
We want to help you make amazing things, so here is the list of the best suppliers we know in and around Hong Kong! You're welcome! Please contact us to add and keep this list up to date. Thank you!
How can I get more involved?
MakerBay is always looking for people who are passionate about making and love sharing and nurturing other people. Please come say hi and let's have a chat! You can also check our career page too