Collaboration for growth CEO of Accelerate Cape Town, Ryan Ravens, explains how the organisation is engaging with a variety of role-players to shape growth in the city.
How does Accelerate Cape Town differ from other business organisations in the region?
BIOGRAPHY Ryan Ravens has extensive experience in leadership positions in the public and private sectors. Having served as the masterplan project manager for the FIFA 2010 World Cup, he was subsequently headhunted by the Gauteng Growth and Development Agency. His next role was CEO of a holding company that invested in numerous initiatives whereafter he joined Accelerate Cape Town. He holds three degrees including an MBA from UCT. WESTERN CAPE BUSINESS 2017
Our model is very different to the chambers in that we represent or aim to represent some of the largest corporates and we are not looking to grow our membership massively. We keep our membership small because we want to have the big players and the people who can collectively shift the landscape, not people who are trying to use the platform for business development. Having a small number allows me to engage with them quite intimately, so I can have face-to-face interaction with the CEOs on a regular basis. We have 42 of the largest corporates as members, and we are aiming to reach 50. The four universities, two business schools and political leadership of the region are part of our network so it becomes an effective network that should be capable of shifting the landscape and driving the bigger game-changing projects in the region. Our independence is important; we don’t accept any money from government as that allows us to be an independent voice for the private sector. What are your key areas of activity? When you have limited resources you have to make tough choices as to what you can do, so we narrowed our focus to five key areas:
Talent The first focus area is talent, specifically the transformation, attraction and retention of young black talent in the corporate environment. We found that companies have been spending a fortune to import black talent to the Cape but once their orientation programme ends and those people haven’t settled socially into the city and built social capital, they’re on a plane going back. We do inspiration sessions aimed at young leaders and young talent to help them build their personal networks in the region and meet their peers in other corporates in order to share experiences. In 2016 we extended that reach to senior professionals who’ve relocated to the Cape. Whether they’re foreign nationals or