Information and communications technology Cape Town is attracting ICT investment.
roviding better and broader access to broadband is a key priority for the Western Cape. The provincial government has identified the issue as an economic enabler that will act as a catalyst for growth across several economic sectors. There are 2 000 ICT firms in the Western Cape and they have 17 000 employees. Private companies Link Africa and Fibrehoods are rolling out highspeed connections via fibre-optic cables to residential addresses. As part of the contract, Fibrehoods must supply the city with a line for the use of public institutions. A group of entrepreneurs, investors and developers has created the non-profit Silicon Cape Initiative which aims to support the burgeoning sector. Just one of its groups, the Startup Group, has 425 members and it offers advice and support. The Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative (CiTi) is another support system for the ICT sector. The Bandwidth Barn (shared office space in Woodstock) is one of three initiatives run by CiTi. The others are VeloCiTi (enterprise and entrepreneur development) and CapaCiti (tech skills and job placement). The University of Cape Town claims a 90% placement rate for CapaCiti and more than 400 graduates. CiTi collaborates with two departments of the Western Cape provincial government, Oracle and On The Ball College to present the Java Schools Programme, which promotes programming. Barclays Bank has invested in a fintech incubator in Cape Town, Rise. The building has an auditorium, meeting and conference rooms but the main idea is to create a community of thinkers and developers. Banks are keen to stay ahead of the game and there are six other Rise incubator locations around the world, including New York and Mumbai. It was a banking application (app) that won the IT Challenge presented by Standard Bank in 2015. Three students from the University of the Western Cape created a voice-activated online banking app,
ONLINE RESOURCES Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative: www.citi.org.za Independent Communications Authority: www.icasa.org.za Silicon Cape: www.siliconcape.com State Information Technology Agency: www.sita.co.za
WESTERN CAPE BUSINESS 2017
SECTOR INSIGHT Silicon Cape is a catalyst for tech in the Western Cape . which they called EasyBank. The challenge was to use and adopt the Amazon Echo app. French Tech Labs was launched as a fintech incubator at Century City in November 2016. The same company earlier established Methys Labs. The new incubator will offer mentoring support for innovators, connections to possible investors and a programme where selected candidates will travel to France for work opportunities. There is no business sector less in need of a geographic home than ICT but a section of Cape Town is developing into a Silicon Valley: Marconi Beam/ Century City. DVTâ€™s app-testing facility is immediately south of that location (just off the N1 at Northgate Island) so perhaps this is the home of Western Cape ICT. Wembley Square and nearby buildings in Gardens might be another candidate, where Amazon Development Centre is a core tenant.