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CAPE INNOVATION AND TECHNOLOGY INITIATIVE

Cape Town’s popularity as Africa’s leading digital, tech and innovation hub is on the rise. Research shows that there are more startups in Cape Town than anywhere else in South Africa. A 2015 survey by Price Waterhouse Cooper (PwC) found that most of the country’s “emerging companies” were based in Cape Town and the Western Cape (56%), followed by Johannesburg and Gauteng (34%).

Leading the charge

Ian Merrington (pictured), chief executive of the Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative (CiTi), is the driving force behind tech innovation in Cape Town. Merrington and his team are supporting the next generation of tech professionals at two state-of-the-art facilities in Woodstock and Khayelitsha.

Established in 1999, CiTi is Africa’s oldest tech incubator. Working with government, business and society, CiTi promotes the inclusive growth of the digital economy.

Over the past 20 years, CiTi has played an integral role in catalysing and supporting the Cape Town tech ecosystem, now recognised as the most productive on the African continent.

In 2018, both CiTi’s Entrepreneur Development and Skills Development (CapaCiTi) programmes have expanded to support entrepreneurs and youth across the country, and on a Pan-African scale.

An enabling environment

Merrington is passionate about the role of innovation in solving the challenges faced by modern societies.

He says Cape Town’s enabling environment inspires innovation.

“Cape Town is much more conducive of tech innovation than any other city in Africa. The city has an entrepreneurial energy that you won’t find anywhere else on the continent. What makes conditions even more favourable is the support of local government for startups. Combined with this, the city is a great place to live and the environment is fantastic.”

Innovation attracts investment

Merrington believes Cape Town is leading innovation in Africa; particularly tech innovation. “And where there is innovation, there’s investment,” he says.

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