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The Tshimologong Precinct has finally opened its doors, offering opportunities in startup incubation, digital skills training as well as research and training in general.
The new precinct, which opened up in Braamfontein, was spearheaded by the University of Witwatersrand and Johannesburg’s Centre for Software Engineering (JCSE), and also backed by the national government, private sector and civil society.
The person behind the initiative, Professor Barry Dwolatzky, is also the head of the JCSE at the University of Witwatersrand. Tshimologong, a seSotho phrase for “place of new beginnings”, has taken old nightclubs and small retail outlets and turned them into integrated computer labs and development pods which will seek to inspire new entrepreneurs and help existing businesses.
According to a report done by the JCSE, the building is founded on the Michael Porter’s Model for Economic Development which shows that “Braamfontein’s geographic concentration of interconnected businesses and suppliers contributes a lion’s share of Gauteng’s 40% to total GDP”.
The nightclub has been turned into space where people can network and share ideas; the warehouse has been transformed from a desolate space into training rooms, computer labs and meeting rooms. The offices have been remodeled into administrative workspaces for JCSE, Wits Digital Arts, LINK Centre, and other Wits ICT centres. The retail space has been transformed into development spaces where the need for specific skills will be serviced.
“A task of this magnitude would be impossible without the reinforcement of government backing and policy support, and the commercial buttress of private sector involvement. Given the broad scope of this project, partnership and sponsorship opportunities abound,” said the JCSE report.
Featured image: Nico Roets via Flickr
Original article source: Disrupt Africa.