By Janey Davies | Inside 3DP
Say what you want about Will.i.am’s music, you cannot deny the American pop star and producer has got pretty deep pockets when it comes to investing in good causes. The quirky, but extremely likable singer has given his time and money both in the U.S and here in the U.K, and recently donated his fee from appearing as a judge on Britain’s ‘The Voice’ program to the Prince of Wales Trust.
He said at the time that he didn’t want his donation to be a ‘one-off’ gift, instead promising: “This is ongoing. I don’t want it to be a one-year thing.”
And it is Will.i.am’s poor background and childhood that have kept this philanthropist nature in him going, as he recalls: “I never thought that when I was in the ghetto that one day I would meet the prince of England and give him $1 million bucks for his foundation. I thought: ‘Get outta here!’” But it was also the popstar’s love of the science subjects that has channeled his donations into new technology, and encouraging young people to study in these areas.
He said: “I wanted to donate this money so if there is a kid somewhere in the ghetto or undeserving community in London, people just like me, instead of telling he or she to play sports, let’s encourage them to do science or mathematics.” In his latest venture, Will.i.am is keeping his royal connections firmly open by backing a 3D printing project launched by the Duke of York. The project aims to support 1,000 young entrepreneurs by investing £150,000 into their business ideas.
The project is in partnership with Huddersfield University alongside Inspiring Digital Enterprise Awards (iDEA). “We heard that the Duke of York was taking a keen interest in a project called Inspiring Digital Enterprises which is also being backed by Will.i.am. The Duke is well aware of our expertise and our support in Huddersfield for encouraging entrepreneurs and has asked us to be a partner,” Huddersfield University’s vice-chancellor Prof Bob Cryan said.
Cryan also spoke about how he recognized why the project resonated so strongly with Will.i.am.
“One of the projects is very close to Will.i.am as he grew up in a poor area of California and is determined to do all he can to help young people there, perhaps through work with music,” Cryan said.
As for project specifics, they all center on new 3D printing technology, as Cryan states: “We were asked to come up with a 3D image of a musical globe, symbolizing the importance of music technology around the world.”
The young entrepreneurs were allowed access to the 3D Printing center in the 3M Buckley Center and the results of their efforts were showcased at the Barbican in London.
And Cryan was delighted with the feedback from the show: “People there were so impressed with the results that they have asked if it can be on show there in a permanent exhibition.” So will the university be involved in any future 3D printing projects?
Cryan thinks so.
“We were delighted to help and I am sure the 3D work we are pioneering will continue to have a key role to play. As prices come down I can foresee a day when many of us have 3D printer in our homes,” he added.
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