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Woodstock’s Bandwidth Barn by The Cape IT Initiative (CiTi) is one of the most important tech hubs for Cape Town, South African-based entrepreneurs, techies, designers and the like to meet-up, exchange ideas, host events and work on their startups. CiTi has just announced a Proof of Concept of The Barn in the Western Cape township, Khayelitsha, to support the local community’s needs.
Built on similar infrastructure of its counterpart in the city, The Barn in Khayelitsha will be community-based, which means that it’s “solely dependent on the community’s engagement, feedback and support for this concept to succeed,” notes head of the CiTi’s Enterprise Development programme Chris Vermeulen. “This is a community-based incubator, and the only way we can achieve a sustainable model is when the incubator is supported by the community it is in.”
The Barn Khayelitsha incubator hopes to provide the required infrastructure and facilities needed for startups and entrepreneurs. This includes desks, internet access, meeting rooms and so forth.
“With the physical structures in place, we will focus on providing the practical skills training, business and entrepreneur training needed to give these entrepreneurs the best possible chance of survival and success in the marketplace,” explains Iam Merrington who’s the COO of CiTi.
Vermeulen further explains that this community-based incubator also offers IT skills, development and mentorship to young students and women in business. With a strong focus on both youth and women empowerment, the initiative is currently looking for sponsorships.
Merrington further adds: “Going forward we aim to be able to replicate this model in other communities, and thus support and develop entrepreneurs in less-developed areas throughout South Africa.”