AIN Conference Durban, PM Wednesday 17th March 2010

March 24, 2010 at 8:43 pm | Posted in AIN, Business Support, Economic Development, ICT, incubation, incubator, startup | 1 Comment
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Lunch was sprinkled with gems – meeting colleagues for the first time that I have collaborated with over the past three years only by phone, Skype and email. Amongst the notables were Phindile, Lynnette, Leone, Lalane, Charles, Ben, Iegshaan, Gordon & Quinton.    

Mark, Beryl, Lee, Alan, Goosain & Paul introduced themselves with business cards and brochures and the new bits of the AIN network jigsaw started to get filled around the edges for me.    

After lunch, we moved on to the role of Incubation in Local Economic Development.

This session was moderated by Mr. Phindile Tshabangu, who is the Business Developer for Innovus Technology Transfer, at the University of Stellenbosch in the Western Cape Province South Africa. Phindile is a cool dude when it come to cartoons!!    

Mr. Nigel Gwynne Evans, Director: Department of Economic Development and Tourism in the Western Cape Provincial Government in South Africa.    

no seats left

Standing room only today

 

Coming after lunch, Nigel came into the don’t dare fall asleep or you will miss some important advice.   Clusters – A framework for Incubation 
Touring Cluster networks in Italy and France brought us to why the Western Cape seem well versed in using incubation as an economic development lever. It came across loud and clear and goes back 14 years now. With 24 established and emerging clusters  – Michael Porter must have visited here for sure?      

‘Nigels department is 250 strong and surely plays hardball in winning budget and projects for his region. Sounds like they have 7 new incubators in the pipeline too – WOW what a note to finish upon!!!! NB Must add Cape Town to my To Do list [and maybe tour the wine cluster] – sheesh I need more paper.    

Nigel’s demand that  Sector Focused Incubators should not be considered unless framed within a cluster context! ensured that we ended his presentation on the edge of our seats with questions in mind.    

in conferenceMr. Phillip Sithole, the Head of Business Support and Markets Unit in the Ethekwini Municipality (of which this beautiful city of Durban is a part), gave us the Eastern Coast experience.  { NB Presentation to be uploaded when available} Philip also whetted our appetite for Fridays tour of Durban’s good and great incubators with SMART XCHANGE top of our list.     

Mr. Caiphus Chauke, the Executive Director is responsible for Local Economic Development in the Tshwane Metro, in Gauteng South Africa.   ENTERPRISE INCUBATION Development Strategy, Twashane LED. RSA 
With a staff of 11 (jings maybe small but performing miracles) he made sure we became aware of the way incubation and technology demonstration centres have mitigated the downturn in manufacturing while strengthening the supply chains and recently  attracting Foreign Direct Investment from the likes of BMW and Ford to his province and elsewhere in South Africa. RSA is definitely punching above its weight in the 21st C.    

With strong support and training programmes for University graduates and entrepreneurs,  Caiphus’s team and their Public and Private Partners have another 9 incubators are in the planning pipeline. Do they get any sleep I wonder.    

Densely populated [90% increase in Southern region and +22% overall ] and with many educational challenges – Caiphus explained the strategic sectoral programmes being implemented with alacrity and focus.  
—Automotives and Related products —Tourism and Related Services —Agriculture and Agro-processing —Aerospace and Defence Technologies —Mixed Manufacturing —Business Process Outsourcing & Off-shoring —Research and Development —Alternative and Renewable Energies ØInvestment Target = R400 million p/a    

Questions were masterfully delegated and speedily despatched by our moderator and even after this session finished many delegates  stayed back and button holed their speaker of choice. No hiding place could be found……….    

 

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  1. And not to forget, there were great socializing opportunities…dancing; story telling…..etc.

    Wonderful to meet again with our colleagues from other African countries – with Julie and Mbarou distinguishing themselves in their very elegant traditional dress.


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