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The Barn

CiTi Barn initiative gears up to launch Barn Khayelitsha

On 18 March 2015, the Bandwidth Barn will launch the Barn Khayelitsha at LookOut Hill Center in Khayelitsha, Cape Town.

Though there is no official word on what Barn Khayelitsha will offer, it will likely boast the same services as offered by other incubator barns around the city. These services include a professional and friendly receptionist, 24 hour access, internet access, meeting rooms, office space, and additional office services. Harare’s Hubspace also offers similar services.

Helen Zille, Premier of the Western Cape, is confirmed to speak at the launch, alongside MEC of Economic Opportunities Alan Winde, as well as a number of other community and CiTi speakers.

Barn Khayelitsha’s blueprints had been in place as far back as November 2014. Since then, the CiTi has been workshopping and in conversation with the community to fine tune the incubator model.

Ian Merrington, CEO of CiTi, says that the consultation with the community is important to the success of the incubator as it must offer the community solutions to their problems.

“Our goal for the future is to take this model and roll it out in other communities across South Africa. Each community faces its own challenges, and needs solutions that are unique to that community.”

Read more: CiTi breeds success with mobile triage, diabetes platforms showcased abroad

Khayelitsha is reputed to be the largest and fastest growing township in South Africa. Its population recorded in tipped the scales at just under 330 000. It is also one of the poorest areas in Cape Town.

In a press release, the barn promises to address the issues that the people of Khayelitsha wrestle with everyday, stating that some of the goals of the community based incubation programmes are to enhance that community’s entrepreneurial capabilities and business acumen, stimulate local innovation, and retain and enhance existing businesses thereby ultimately fostering jobs and growth.

This is where the success of its programmes will lie: jobs and growth. By addressing these two factors, the Barn will aim to address apathy, poverty and crime.

MEC Winde recognises the responsibility the importance of entrepreneurship and the role initiatives like the Barn Khayelitsha can play.

“Entrepreneurs are a vital part of our economy,” says Winde. “Each and every new business has the potential to one day become a large employer. My job is to create the right environment so that the dreams of our province’s aspiring entrepreneurs have the best chance of becoming realities.”