In recent times, our African continent has spurred into an entrepreneurship era with most of our youth having high interest in being an entrepreneur and starting their own businesses. This spur could be linked to the continuous rise of unemployment in many (if not all) African nations. With this entrepreneurship desire, there is a bright future for hardworking and smart youth. However, most startups are not being able to survive the market environment in Africa – either the skills are missing or there is no enough capital to make the business work. Some few young entrepreneurs have been successful and majority of the successful startups is identified to be using social media and IT to push their success.
In view of this, South African government and the University of the Witwatersrand has successfully launched the Wits Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct in Braamfontein, Johannesburg. The digital innovation center will provide a space for young tech entrepreneurs and startups to build upon their prototypes, ideas, and work. The complex will consist of offices, working space, computer labs, training rooms, creative content development environments, and other features. The innovation center will provide internet services for users to research and expand knowledge in their various fields.
Drawing on models that have proved hugely successful in major cities around the world, Wits is driving the development of a successful technology ecosystem in the center of Africa’s most important business and economic hub. It will complement the University’s suite of ICT-related offerings in research, courses and programmes in software engineering, data science, big data, and digital business among others. According to Professor Adam Habib, Vice-Chancellor and Principal at Wits University, “Wits aims to inspire the development of a new generation of digital technology experts, innovators and entrepreneurs and Tshimologong will provide an enabling space for our country’s most creative young minds to develop new digital technologies that are crucial to South Africa’s economic growth and international competitiveness.”
More of such projects across the continent could assist in re-defining our entrepreneurship era for students, graduates, and other young entrepreneurs. The innovation center will run on membership basis and will be open to everyone – not restricted to just the IT sector. Additionally, the Tshimologong Precinct features a recently launched IBM Research Lab (the first of such facility anywhere in the world) that is tightly integrated into an innovation hub. More to it, Tshimologong development is the establishment by Wits of The DIZ (Digital Innovation Zone), a fantastic space in Smit Street Braamfontein where creatives, innovators and programmers can come together and collaborate.
36th GITEX Technology Week
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