Premier Helen Zille and Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities, this week launched a multi-million rand business incubator to support tech entrepreneurs and drive job creation in Khayelitsha and Mitchell’s Plain.
Premier Zille and Minister Winde this month officially launched the Barn Khayelitsha, based at the City of Cape Town’s Lookout Hill premises.
The Barn’s priority areas will include business development support, helping women in business and youth development. Mobile technology will received special attention.
Local businesses in the tourism sector will be assisted with marketing strategies to attract more visitors. Another focus area will be supporting subsistence farmers to grow their operations, using technology, to become commercial farmers.
It will work with tech entrepreneurs to develop solutions to local problems. Residents will be able to create prototypes, test their products in their communities and commercialise their concepts.
The Barn is a joint initiative of the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism and the Cape IT Initiative.
The Provincial Department has invested R2.4m into the project.
Premier Zille said: “The Western Cape Government is working tirelessly to enable entrepreneurs to access opportunities. Technology and innovation are critical in creating jobs in the economy.”
Minister Winde said: “Barn Khayelitsha is a launchpad for opportunity. The creation of jobs and growth is my number one objective and through the Barn we are building the right ecosystem to do just that. People are starting to look at the Western Cape as a centre of innovation. This is a platform for entrepreneurs to develop their ideas and take them to the world.”
The Barn concept provides an excellent environment for entrepreneurs. By sharing resources, they are able to keep their costs low. Within the hub they also have access to guidance from experienced mentors.
Projections from the Bandwidth Barn in Woodstock show that between now and 2017, businesses incubated there will generate over R200 million for the local economy.