Role Models and 3D Printers Inspire Algerian Teens to Tackle Tech

They may not be well-known sports or film superstars, but two US-based Algerian tech experts generated the same level of excitement among a group of 100 young Algerians.

During a two-day program at the Sylabs, a talent accelerator in Algiers, Silicon Valley tech entrepreneur Noureddine Tayebi and MIT researcher Dr. Riyadh Beghdadi recently helped lead a program designed to engage, inform and inspire this eager assembly of 16-19 year olds.

Selected from more than 500 applicants, the young people were selected for showing a special commitment and passion for learning more about technology, innovation, and digital systems.

The Sylabs Youth Academy covered a range of topics, including basic programming, virtual reality, the Arduino open-source software, cybersecurity, design thinking and graphic design. As part of the program, the young participants learned about 3D printing first hand by using the equipment in the GE Garages workshop installed at Sylabs.

“It is time for young people to learn to program the games that fascinate them and to create the web and mobile applications they use daily,” said Sylabs founder Abdellah Mallek. “The Sylabs Youth Academy exposed them to the countless apps and software that were unknown to them and often considered beyond their reach.”

Tayebi earned his PhD in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University. Beghdadi is a postdoc researcher at the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston. He earned his PhD from Sorbonne University and earned his undergraduate engineering degree from the National Higher College of Computer Science (ESI).

Sylabs was launched to nurture Algerian start-ups, not only with workspace and rapid-prototyping opportunities, but also by hosting workshops and conferences to stimulate creativity and promote skills development, as well as simply offering a place where entrepreneurs and artists can meet, collaborate and connect. The space focuses on startups, technology and art.

GE supports innovation, entrepreneurship and SMEs in Algeria through a range of initiatives. These include Sylabs, where GE has installed a GE Garages workshop provisioned with Advanced Manufacturing tools that are available to Sylabs participants.

In collaboration with Sonelgaz, the National Company of Electricity and Gas, GE is running the IDEA (Industry and Development of Entrepreneurship in Algeria) initiative. IDEA seeks to nurture local Algerian innovation in the energy-sector supply chain and enable talent development for industrial jobs. GE also has hosted GE Garages workshops at a number of events attended by Algerian students and entrepreneurs.

GE has been a partner to the Algerian economy and its national development for more than four decades in electricity and water, oil and gas, healthcare, aviation and transportation.

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