Western Cape launches tech ecosystem initiative

The Digital Economy unit at the Department of Economic Development and Tourism has collaborated with the Western Cape Government, City of Cape Town, Wesgro, and various facilitators in the tech ecosystem in the region such as CiTi, Silicon Cape, LaunchLab and Startup Bootcamp, to launch a new brand and initiative aimed at positioning the Western Cape as Africa’s Tech Capital. 

The new brand aims to unite the tech ecosystem of the Western Cape, acknowledging the values, skills, talent, and innovation of numerous tech startups in the region. 

New brand launches that positions Cape Town and the Western Cape as Africa’s Tech Capital

In an official press release, Alan Winde, Premier of the Western Cape, revealed the new brand and initiatives’ logo at a launching event and commented on how the pandemic has accelerated the digitization of the local economy. 

“We are excited to proudly declare Cape Town and the Western Cape as “Africa’s Tech Capital”. The Covid-19 pandemic has shown us just how important this new digital economy is and it bodes well for our province’s recovery plan that we are the leading in this space. I want to thank our Department of Economic Development and Tourism for their hard work on this pioneering project. And I also want to thank all those innovative start-ups for your role in developing our amazing tech ecosystem.”

The tech ecosystem initiative

Western Cape’s tech ecosystem is thriving with tech and digital businesses mainly located in Cape Town and the Stellenbosch region. 

Tim Harris, CEO of Wesgro, echoes Cape Town’s success in digital technology in an official press release.

“We need to affirm our status as leader of the African tech ecosystem and declare this on the international stage. We have the overwhelming evidence that Cape Town is Africa’s leading tech capital. Now, we need to jointly tell the world!”

The new tech ecosystem brand will offer tech startups and companies in the Western Cape the following: 

  • A community of diverse companies across the tech ecosystem 
  • Supporting institutions to increase ease of business for tech-based companies or startups 
  • Over 22 active incubators and accelerators in the region, providing business and tech support, mentoring, networking opportunities, and access to possible funders. 
  • More than 25 co-working spaces
  • The University of Cape Town, Stellenbosch University, CPUT, and the University of the Western Cape, in addition to six TVETs (Technical and Vocational Education and Training) in the Western Cape, all contribute to the growing tech sector and assisted businesses during Covid-19.
Tech Hub ecosystem initiative logo

Alderman James Vos, Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management commented on the excellent IT infrastructure as The City of Cape Town funded Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative (CiTi).

“With an internet take-up of 63% and with one of the largest open-access fibre networks in Africa, Cape Town is home to the vast majority (almost 60%) of South Africa’s start-ups. The City-funded Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative (CiTi) is Africa’s oldest tech incubator and has turned out more than 2,000 businesses and supported more than 3,000 entrepreneurs since its inception in 1999. In response to this growing industry, the City of Cape Town is continuing to invest in IT infrastructure, and to date, the City has installed 848km of fibre-optic cable. As a City, we will continue to support and invest in high growth sectors that will create jobs for our residents. This is a caring city, but more so, Cape Town is an opportunity city and we are open for business.”

Adopting digital technologies

Covid-19 presented unforeseen challenges for businesses and as a result, many companies have adopted digital technologies. 

According to the Western Cape Government, the digital economy is an attractive investment opportunity that continues to bring international investments onto the local shores. In addition, the investment into the digital economy fosters the growth of tech startups/companies along with increased employment opportunities in the tech sector for locals in the Western Cape. 

David Maynier, Western Cape Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities acknowledges the challenges Covid-19 brings to businesses and ensures the launch of the new brand will assist in the economy’s recovery.

“The launch of this new brand couldn’t happen at a better time as we reopen our economy and begin rebuilding so we can save jobs in the Western Cape. The key to our economic recovery is the partnerships between the government and the private sector. And this new brand, which is a confidence boost to the sector, is a great example of a successful partnership between the government and the private sector.” 

The Western Cape Government is encouraging tech startups and businesses to become apart of the tech ecosystem, in turn positioning the region as Africa’s tech capital. Tech companies are encouraged to submit their details online to build a data base for the new tech ecosystem.

Read more: New car tech startup launches in Cape Town
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Featured image: The launch of the tech hub initiative (Supplied) 



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