Tshimologong hub open for hi-tech business
The Tshimologong Precinct, Johannesburg’s own Silicon Valley in Braamfontein, is officially open for business.
The R40-million innovation hub – which is aimed at rejuvenating Braamfontein through the incubation of hi-tech start-ups and the commercialisation of research and development of high-level skills for students, working professionals and unemployed youth – is the brainchild of the City of Johannesburg, Wits University’s Joburg Centre for Software Engineering and Gauteng Province e-Government.
The hub was officially launched last night (Thursday September 1) at a ceremony attended by high-profile personalities including Gauteng MEC for Finance and e-Government Barbara Creecy, Wits University Vice-Chancellor Professor Adam Habib and Director of Wits Joburg Centre for Software Engineering Professor Barry Dwolatzky, Other partners in the project include Microsoft, IBM, Cisco, Airports Company of South Africa, KMJ Services, Innovation Developing Agency, Data Centrix, MMI Holdings, Telkom Future Makers and Teraco Data Environment.
The development of the precinct involved the renovation of five buildings owned by Wits University that cover half a city block in Juta Street. Described as “a new beginning” by Prof Dwolatzky, the hub comprises a combination of open plan co-working areas with broadband wireless connectivity for ICT start-ups, meeting and refreshment zones, computer laboratories, training rooms, creative content development environment and administrative and infrastructure support offices.
Prof Dwolatzky said the precinct provided an exciting environment to attract students and a broad range of residents with an interest in digital technology, innovation and entrepreneurship. MEC Creecy described the official opening of the precinct as “ground-breaking”.
She said the future of Johannesburg was bright and the precinct was a dream come true and mission accomplished for Gauteng. “The City of Johannesburg and the provincial government worked hard for his project to become a reality. This shows that this government places a high premium on such innovative projects. This further proves our commitment to building a hub of ICT and financial business,” she said.
“We want to improve efficiency in technology and to remain committed to working with the private sector and educational institutions to take industrialisation to greater heights.” Prof Habib thanked the City of Johannesburg, Gauteng Provincial Government and other partners for making this project a dream come true.
He also applauded the University of Ryerson in Toronto, Canada, for helping Wits to get it off the ground. Dr Aber Saloojee of Ryerson University congratulated Wits, the City of Johannesburg and Gauteng Provincial Government for their visionary leadership. He said the hub would play a critical role in nation building and social justice in the country.
Dr Saloojee added that he was confident the precinct would reap the same success his university had achieved.