One of the greatest challenges facing South Africa is the lack of growth and opportunities for the average and the lower class. The platforms for growth are there but in most cases, they are only accessible to the wealthy. To address this problem, South Africa’s Cape IT Initiative (CiTi) decided to bring growth to the doorsteps of ordinary South Africans by launching an incubator in Khayelitsha, one of the biggest townships in Cape Town.
The Barn Khayelitsha was officially opened by Cape IT Initiative (CiTi) last week, this comes after months of testing incubation models to determine which work best in a community environment and which models best meet the community’s needs.
This incubator has tons to offer the youth from the township including the infrastructure and facilities required for start-ups and entrepreneurs, IT skills, development and mentorship to students as well as women in business. The Barn Khayelitsha has desk space available daily or at a monthly rental, they also offer internet, meeting rooms and an exquisite location. It gives entrepreneurs and businesses, aspiring or established, a platform to network on a day-to-day basis. Their main goal is to focus on developing the youth, especially women in business.
According to Disrupt Africa, Premier of the Western Cape, Helen Zille, opened the incubator. During this official opening, Zille highlighted the importance of supporting technology-based innovation for tackling local challenges and in an effort to grow the country’s economy. She also explained how businesses create jobs, emphasizing how tech and innovation can be useful when it comes to creating solutions for everyday challenges facing the community and South Africa as a whole.
What Cape IT Initiative (CiTi) hopes to achieve with the Barn Khayelitsha is to engage with the community of Khayelitsha therefore promoting inclusive growth. The initiative hopes to inspire other communities to create similar platforms in order to enhance community development, especially in local townships.
I hope to see more initiatives such as this one in our townships, not just in South Africa but in Africa as a whole.