Dr Cherise Dunn is one of the pioneers bringing 3D printing, additive manufacturing and design thinking education to everyday South Africans.
Co-founder of the Africa Makes 3D Printing for Development Initiative, Dunn is a serial entrepreneur. While completing her doctoral studies in cancer research at UCT, she founded an education consultancy that provides innovative entrepreneurship programmes for unemployed youth and adults, with a focus on emerging technologies.
Dunn was also instrumental in the establishment of, and was the lead ambassador for the Durban chapter of Future Females, a movement to inspire more female entrepreneurs and better support their success.
After researching social challenges experienced by African youth, she later cofounded the Africa Makes 3D Printing for Development Initiative. The project is a social hybrid enterprise that uses 3D printing for socioeconomic and educational development (#3D4D).
Dunn says the initiative started as a movement to empower disadvantaged youth in Africa by upskilling them in 3D technology for the future of work in the fourth industrial revolution.
“For us, this means equipping young people and adults with greater social and emotional intelligence and the knowledge of the economic potential of exciting emerging 4IR technologies such as 3D printing and additive manufacturing. The practical implementation skills to maximise the sustainable use of this technology in their communities is then crucial. We encourage African youth to resourcefully solve their own community-specific challenges using human-centric 3D printed solutions,” she says.
Recently Dunn was recognised by the US Department of State as one of the 4IR leaders in the world, and was nominated for the International Visitor Leadership Programme for Women in Entrepreneurship, the premier cultural programme offered by the US. As the only representative from South Africa, and the only techpreneur from the continent, she visited seven states during her extensive visit, engaging with numerous leading public and private organisations.
“I am passionate about making relevant technology more accessible to disadvantaged communities, and aim to encourage entrepreneurship in youth by fostering skills for success in the 4IR. I would like to encourage Africa’s youth to be proactive in solving the challenges they may be facing in their lives.”