Cape Town is looking to add another string to its burgeoning business-friendly bow by positioning itself as a launch pad for technology companies expanding into Africa.
The Mother City already attracts foreign filmmakers and business process outsourcing companies. But now it has its sights set on technology start-ups and venture capitalists.
This week tech experts from the Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative‚ Silicon Cape and Wesgro, the Western Cape’s investment and trade promotion agency, will travel to Singapore and Japan to sell the city as a technology hub.
The trip comes ahead of the Geeks On A Plane Africa tour organised by venture fund and seed accelerator 500 Startups, which concludes in Cape Town at the end of March.
“The Cape has become Africa’s largest start-up scene‚” said Wesgro CEO Tim Harris.
“[The city] has a number of co-working spaces … such as the Bandwidth Barn‚ Spin Street House‚ Workshop 17‚ and a Wi-Fi lounge on top of Table Mountain where‚ on Table Top Tuesday‚ entrepreneurs can meet and work each Tuesday for free.”
Bandwidth Barn is Africa’s leading incubator and accelerator for tech entrepreneurs‚ and has 53 businesses registered as tenants.
Silicon Cape will host the final leg of the African tour by Geeks On A Plane‚ and the non-profit company hoped “they will leave SA impressed by the calibre of tech businesses in our ecosystem‚” said director Alexander Fraser.
The company will invite 10 local startups to spend time with the investors, entrepreneurs and technology whizzes on the tour‚ which Fraser said had the “potential to raise early stage funding‚ [source] mentorships as well as potentially being included in one of the 500 Startups acceleration programmes”.
Harris said the city had allocated R222m to broadband infrastructure over the next three years.
“Cape Town’s unparalleled infrastructure base‚ world-class universities and vibrant environment has given the region a competitive edge to reach beyond other hubs on the continent‚” he said.