Under the “Good Practices” activity of the InnoBridge Project, ADRAL – Alentejo Regional Development Agency - identified the Évora FabLab.
The Évora FabLab is integrated in ÉvoraTech (a business incubator under ADRAL’s management) and is part of the IDEA Center - an operation focused on the area of innovation, knowledge transfer and promotion of technology and business initiatives, which was financed under the framework of the Alentejo Regional Operational Programme (INALENTEJO) 2007-2013.
A FabLab is a small-scale workshop that offers digital manufacturing: it’s a space of creativity, learning and innovation that is accessible to those who are interested in building projects.
The FabLab movement is closely aligned with the DIY (do it yourself), the open source hardware and the free and open source movement, and shares philosophy as also technology with them.
The FabLab is usually equipped with a series of computer controlled tools, such as 3D printers, laser cutters and others.
In addition to the FabLab's technological mission, it also has a social mission that we can’t neglect, such as promoting creativity and collaboration, promoting entrepreneurship, competitiveness, the environment and sustainable development.
It is also the mission of FabLabs, to promote network learning, qualification, vocational training and employment as well to motivate business generation based on innovation and research.
This way, ADRAL identified the ÉvoraTech Fablab as a good practice, because it’s a place that allows individuals to be trained with a view to create with intelligent equipment, which encourages entrepreneurship.
The investment far exceeds the purchase price the potential users will pay for a finished product and the use of fabrication facilities are of no charge, by appointment to construct DIY.
The monetary investment and effort reduces cost to materials alone. If the users are new to a fabrication process, a network of experienced individuals will donate their time to help them by means of mutual interest and a well-designed organizational platform within a socially networked community.
Another reason for this is that a FabLab is also a platform for learning and innovation: a place to play, to create, to learn, to mentor and to invent.
The Évora FabLab intends to reach everyone. It is currently dedicated to incubated startup businesses, to stimulate and create the development of technological solutions for local realities, seeking to democratize access to the tools of sustainable development.