Materialise’s mission is to “create a better and healthier world”.
While its mission can be seen in such ways as 3D Printing surgical guides and customized hearing aids, it can also be seen in other ways such as supporting projects in Benin.
They soon came into contact with CFO, a corporate funding program that connects NGO’s with companies, and soon Materialise became familiar with Hubi and Vinciane in Benin. After Executive Vice President Hilde Ingelaere and General Manager of the Malaysian office Wim Michiels went to Benin in 2011, they were convinced that the foundation was a good organization to support.
This partnership with Hubi and Vinciane took off shortly after, leading to Materialise to provide IT equipment into local schools, and soon Materialise started sponsoring a summer school and scholarship foundation. It was also Materialise’s CEO Fried Vancraen who started the African Drive. Its first project, called the Baobab Express, is already up and driving around Benin – but that’s a story for another day.
In 2010, Materialise started an annual month-long summer school where 16 students work on various projects and are guided by selected Materialise employee(s). Three well-rounded, exceptional students (one from medical, one from engineering, and one from economics) from the summer school are selected to receive college scholarships. Materialise sponsors their college education with the idea that they would then go on to become local leaders within Benin. Two Materialise employees, Jamie Milas (US office) and Karim Chellaoui (Belgian office) went to Benin last year.