New "Bandwidth Barn" to Connect Townships to the World
The successful Bandwidth Barn concept is heading for the townships, signalling a major boost for the Western Cape’s ICT entrepreneurs.
Alan Winde, Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, said the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism was investigating sites for a Bandwidth Barn in the townships and had already inspected potential sites in Nyanga and Khayelitsha.
This will be a joint project between the Western Cape Government, the Cape IT Initiative and the City of Cape Town.
“We are scouting for locations and we hope to launch the new incubator early next year. It is our plan to take these services to the areas that need them most. Townships have higher rates of unemployment and this is why we have these targeted interventions to make a real difference in people’s lives,” said Minister Winde.
Minister Winde said the Bandwidth Barn in Woodstock has become a world class ICT innovation hub and has proved popular among aspirant entrepreneurs, especially young people.
In addition to the planned new site, the province is also co-funding the establishment of an ICT incubator in George.
“Business incubators are a great environment for entrepreneurs. By sharing resources, they are able to keep their costs low. Within the hub they also have access to guidance from experienced business mentors,” said Minister Winde.
Minister Winde said evidence proved the concept was making a real impact on the success of start-ups.
“In the past year, the Bandwidth Barn assisted 89 businesses, the majority of which are still bringing growth and jobs to our economy. It’s estimated these entrepreneurs would have had just a 20% chance of survival without our assistance.
“Between 2006 and 2011, the revenue generated by the Bandwidth Barn graduates increased by 142%,” said Minister Winde.
Earlier this year, Minister Winde announced the establishment of the African Incubation Project to investigate partnerships between Western Cape incubators and their African counterparts, possibly headed by the Bandwidth Barn.
This could see the establishment of Bandwidth Barns in other African countries.