CAPE TOWN ACCELERATOR FOCUSES SOCIAL TRANSFORMATION

CAPE TOWN ACCELERATOR FOCUSES SOCIAL TRANSFORMATION

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CAPE TOWN ACCELERATOR FOCUSES SOCIAL TRANSFORMATION

– Local tech accelerator, the Bandwidth Barn is determined to conduct social transformation.

– Merrington said that they underwent an 18 month programme to assess community needs.

CAPE TOWN ACCELERATOR FOCUSES SOCIAL TRANSFORMATION

According to News24, a local tech accelerator, the Bandwidth Barn is determined to conduct social transformation with technology as a key part of its mandate.

The Barn recently launched a TravelTech and FinTech hubs as well as a Women in Business programme.

Ian Merrington, chief executive of the Cape Innovative and Technology Initiative (CITI) said, “The Bandwidth Barn is Africa’s oldest accelerator; we’ve been here for 16 years and primarily, we have a transformative mandate.”

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Cape Innovation & Technology Initiative

Merrington has a strong background in the advertising and marketing industry and CiTi runs the Bandwidth Barn as well as the CapaCiti skills programme.

He said that the hubs have delivered granting previously disadvantaged groups access to financial services, training for small business and job skills to develop local tech startups.

“You can’t just out of context and in a vacuum say you’re going to have more women in a particular area, so we launched in the last three weeks our Women in Business programme,” stated Merrington.

The TravelTech hub is launched to focus on building startups to tackle the challenge of increasing visitor numbers to Cape Town.

Mayoral committee member Gareth Bloor said, “I think fundamentally, this is a very exciting merger of two key features of Cape Town that are unmistakable: Tourism… and the increasing reputation of technology which, I think over the longer term, is going to be more fundamental because it’s a much bigger aspect to the city.”

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Some startups have used the mentoring at the Barn to expand their digital footprint.

“In the beginning the tech concept didn’t mean anything to me when I started the company. It only came to my senses two and half years ago when I decided to set up my own website and obviously move to the next level,” stressed Loyiso Mfuku of Khayelitsha Travel.

Merrington said that social transformation in tech would create diversity in the economy.

“It’s about creating diversity; encouraging diversity; it’s not just about women and males. It’s about different cultures, different races and about encouraging diversity in tech and that’s something that we believe in strongly.”

CiTi has developed a Barn in Khayelitsha to cater for startups in the Cape Flats corridor, and Merrington said that they underwent an 18 month programme to assess community needs.

“We’ve been very careful not to take the model we have here and parachute it into Khayelitsha and Mitchell’s Plain, saying we’re going to solve your problems, we going to empower you, give you the tools.”

He added, “The trick is: Don’t ever go in with pre-assumptions and in an arrogant way that you know how to solve other people’s problems.”

CAPE TOWN ACCELERATOR FOCUSES SOCIAL TRANSFORMATION