Board of Directors
Dr Nhlanhla Msomi
Tshwane, 23 June 2014: The Innovation Hub has partnered with the City of Tshwane to bring science, technology, engineering and mathematics closer to the youth especially those from previously disadvantaged backgrounds. The youth initiatives developed through the partnership are FabLab which will be launched on Monday, 23 June 2014 at The Innovation Hub., eKasi LABS will be launched on Friday, 27 June at the Ga-rankuwa Arts & Crafts Centre and the Kusile Mobile Labs will be distributed between the 23 and 27 June at various schools.
There is currently a shortage of skills in these sectors and one of the major causes is the inaccessibility to the facilities that allow young people to engage and explore. These youth initiatives offer a pragmatic solution to the highly inflated number of unemployed youths as entrepreneurial mentorship is offered as well as workshops to guide them on the process of commercializing an innovation.
A Fab Lab, which is an abbreviation for fabrication laboratory, is a miniature factory for digital fabrication where prototypes can be created and will be strategically located at The Innovation Hub as it is the first accredited science and technology park in Africa.
eKasi LABS which will be piloted at the Ga-rankuwa Arts and Crafts Centre in an area that can be easily accessed by the broader community where young people will create tangible solutions that address their community’s problems.
Kusile Mobile Science Labs are an innovative and cost-effective solution to the inadequate science laboratories available in primary and secondary schools which were designed and manufactured by local entrepreneurs from Kusile Labs & Technology and will be distributed at various local disadvantaged schools throughout the week from the 23 June.
Tshwane Mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa said Tshwane is a progressive City that works towards igniting excellence and has demonstrated its readiness to introduce research and innovation in its operations.
“Our involvement in the innovation journey has seen us embrace digital technologies and includes a range of measures designed to facilitate access to connectivity. We owe it to the youth of 1976 to initiate programs that would liberate today’s youth from socio-economic segregation. I am glad that the introduction of the FabLab and Ekasi Labs will be the entry point into the exciting world of entrepreneurship, mathematics and science” said Ramokgopa. “One of the challenges faced by young people and budding entrepreneurs wanting to utilise facilities and services available at The Innovation Hub is access to our services as it is located in an area that is relatively inaccessible owing to the distance travelled as well as cost of transportation. This partnership was conceptualised from a strategic decision to ‘take innovation to the people’ by establishing co-creation spaces that will foster a culture of innovation and entrepreneurial activities that better the lives of the community and create wealth” – Mr McLean Sibanda, CEO of The Innovation Hub
Issued by The Innovation Hub Management Company
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About Gauteng Growth and Development Agency.
The Gauteng Growth and Development Agency (GGDA), previously known as Blue IQ and GEDA, is a merged entity by the Gauteng Department of Economic Development (GDED). GGDA is the implementation arm of the GDED and assists the department in leading, facilitating and managing sustainable job creation and inclusive economic growth and development in the Gauteng City Region. For more information on GGDA, please contact Mandy Rutgers, Acting Executive: Group Marketing, Communications and Strategic Promotions on (+27) 82 496 2457.
About The Innovation Hub
The Innovation Hub, a subsidiary of the GGDA, is Africa’s first internationally accredited Science Park and is a full member of the International Association of Science Parks. It is strategically located in Tshwane, South Africa’s executive capital in the ‘smart’ province of Gauteng. As the leading knowledge-intensive business cluster in South Africa, The Innovation Hub implements initiatives identified in the Gauteng Innovation Strategy and Green Economy Strategy to advance the economic development and growth of the province through innovation.
Friday, 25 April 2014: Gauteng Acting Head of Department for Economic Development, Mr Albert Chanee, attended the graduation of 60 postgraduate students from the Coachlab™ leadership programme at The Innovation Hub in Tshwane today.
The Innovation Hub, Africa’s first accredited science and technology park, is a subsidiary of the Gauteng Growth and Development Agency (GGDA), which is an agency of the Gauteng Department of Economic Development Department (GDED).
Acting HOD, Mr Albert Chanee said that the Coachlab™ programme has provided a crop of 258 leaders since its inception in 2001, who are now successful in the industry. “This programme eases the transition from tertiary education into industry, as students are exposed to innovation while they work on industry projects,” he said.
Coachlab™ is a postgraduate leadership programme in ICT and engineering run from The Innovation Hub in Pretoria; the University of the Witwatersrand’s Johannesburg Centre for Software Engineering; and North West University in the Vaal Triangle Campus.
Coachlab™ is fully sponsored by Media Information and Communication Technologies Sector Education and Training Authority (MICT SETA) and industry partners who groom graduates to employ in their core businesses. The programme runs annually from March to November and it requires postgraduates to work on pre-determined projects while being supervised by industry experts in addition to providing students with work readiness assignments and mentorships.
Programme partners include the Jobs Fund, Cisco Systems South Africa, Cisco Technology and Services South Africa, BBD, Epi-Use, ZA-CR (previously known as UniForum SA), Hollard Insurance, Vodacom, State Information Technology Agency (SITA), South African Graduates Development Association (SAGDA),Standard Bank, Johannesburg Centre for Software Engineering and our new sponsor for 2014/15, PwC. The Academic partners are: University of the Witwatersrand, Tshwane University of Technology, University of Pretoria, University of Johannesburg, UNISA and North West University.
Group CEO of the Gauteng Growth and Development Agency, Mr Siphiwe Ngwenya, said, “The collaboration between the private sector, academia and The Innovation Hub fits comfortably into our vision to position Gauteng as a smart province. This programme also indicates that we are committed to unlocking the potential of key growth and development areas to benefit South African youth, by tapping into skilled graduates and boosting their leadership and business acumen ”.
In 2013/14, the programme secured funding from the Jobs Fund which increased student participation from 31 to 70. The third CoachLab™ programme was launched in Vanderbijl-Park, at the North-West University, Vaal Triangle Campus on 26 February 2014. For the year ended 31 March 2014, CoachLab™ had 10 industry sponsors and six academic partners. Media Information and Communication Technology Sectoral Education and Training Authority (MICT SETA) has also been sponsoring the programme since 2007, which ensured that the quality of training and mentorship provided allows the students to compete effectively in the corporate world.
“We are pleased with the success and the impact of this programme to the postgraduates in the ICT and Engineering sector. Launched in 2001 as a pilot programme with the support from the University of Pretoria (UP), Epi-Use (Pty) Ltd,and The Innovation Hub as the facilitator. Its success led to a second Coachlab site (JCSE) and athird site, CoachLab@Vaal which was launched at the North West University, Vaal Triangle Campus on 26 February 2014”, said The Innovation Hub’s CEO, Mr McLean Sibanda.
One of the graduates from Coachlab@JCSE, Itumeleng Maimane, said “the CoachLab™ programme exposed me to real life industry projects, teaching us how to handle clients, deliverables and to be business savvy. The project management training was excellent because it gave me the structure in terms of how to approach any project (school and industry). I am now part of the graduate program at Rand Merchant Bank and CoachLab™ has given me this head start”.
-Ziphora Mosimane, CoachLab@JCSE 2012, said ‘CoachLab™ gave me the platform to learn and make mistakes in a protected environment. I have also received a bursary from the programme which helped me complete my BCom (Hons) IT Management studies. After my year at CoachLab™, I was approached by the Standard Bank Group IT Graduate programme in 2012 for a job interview and to join one of the best graduate programmes. Thereafter, I was offered a job as a Business Analyst in the Operations IT Rest of Africa team. In 2013, I joined Microsoft’s MACH (Microsoft Academy for College Hires) programme as a Service Delivery Manager within the Microsoft Services Division”.
Wednesday, 9 April 2014: The MEC for Economic Development (GDED), Mxolisi Eric Xayiya along with the MEC for Agriculture and Rural Development (GDARD), Nandi Mayathula-Khoza, toured the construction site of the BioPark at The Innovation Hub, in Tshwane, on Tuesday 8 April 2014.
Scheduled for completion at the end of May 2014, with occupation by start-up companies, the BioPark project has been a strategic project of the Gauteng Provincial Government since 2009, when GDARD led the development of a feasibility study.
Speaking at the site visit, MEC Mayathula-Khoza recognised the support of previous MECs for Economic Development, Qedani Mahlangu and the late Hon. Nkosiphendule Kolisile as well as the current MEC, Mxolisi Xayiya for ensuring that The Innovation Hub pursued the project to this stage. The Innovation Hub is a subsidiary of the Gauteng Growth and Development Agency, an implementation agency of GDED. She noted “I am pleased that Phase 1 of the BioPark will focus on stimulating entrepreneurship and value creation in the agro-processing sector, as it offers great prospects for job creation and food security.”
MEC Xayiya, in turn, praised his counterpart for having laid a solid foundation and providing seed funding that facilitated the development of the feasibility study, the business plan as well as architectural designs that were used to apply for funding.
The BioPark plans to position Gauteng as the gateway of agro processed products to rest of Africa and the world; expand local and export supply of biosciences products and services for economic growth and job creation and to strengthen Tshwane as an anchor for the biosciences cluster in Gauteng amongst other objectives. Speaking during the tour, Xayiya said “The BioPark is a good example of a partnership between provincial government departments, their entities and the national government in support of entrepreneurs. In this case, we are excited by the fact that the BioPark will also be home to the Climate Innovation Centre, which will focus on the environmental aspects of the Bioeconomy.”
Following the feasibility study, the Gauteng cabinet resolved that GDED and GDARD should proceed with the development of a business plan for the establishment of the BioPark at The Innovation Hub. A Business Plan was subsequently developed by The Innovation Hub. In 2013, The Innovation Hub partnered with eGoliBio (its biosciences incubation partner), GGDA and GDARD in its successful bid for funding from the dti’s Incubation Support Programme (ISP).
The BioPark will focus on supporting the development of the Bioeconomy sector in Gauteng. It also aims to enhance multiple helix collaboration (government, public research and industry collaboration) as well as to develop and grow a biosciences cluster anchored at The Innovation Hub.
Phase 1 and part of Phase 2 are funded by the dti’s ISP and the GGDA. Phase 1, which is currently under construction, will accommodate food / bio-processing companies and the Climate Innovation Centre (CIC), another flagship project of the Gauteng provincial government and the Green Accord. Phase 2 involves the provision of facilities for pharmaceutical, cosmetics and diagnostic companies. Start-up companies in the BioPark will be supported through a biotechnology incubation programme that is anchored on the successes of both eGoliBIO and The Innovation Hub’s Maxum incubation programmes.
Senior officials from the Department of Science and Technology and its agency, Technology Innovation Agency, Ben Durham and Dr Sibongile Gumbi, respectively, also briefed both MECs on the importance of the BioPark for the implementation of the 2013 National Bioeconomy Strategy unveiled by Minister Hanekom earlier this year. Both MECs expressed excitement about the progress that has been made towards realising the vision of the BioPark and in particular its critical role towards ensuring delivery on the agriculture, health, and environmental objectives of the Bioeconomy Strategy.