Western Cape Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  10 Aug 2010

DEVELOPMENT: Accelerate's Road Ahead


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Western Cape business think-tank and catalyst Accelerate Cape Town held its Annual General Meeting last week. Accelerate Cape Town brings together stakeholders in the Cape Town city region to develop and implement a long-term vision for sustainable, inclusive economic growth.

Kobus Meiring, head of Optimal Energy, was the guest speaker at the meeting. The Cape Town-based company is the maker of South Africa’s first locally-produced electric car, the Joule. Talking about the need for the world to change to more sustainable energy solutions, Meiring said the world is using five times as much oil as is discovered each year. “There are currently 800-million cars on the world’s roads, a figure that will double within the next 20 years. With dwindling oil supplies and a growing population, electric vehicles offer the best current alternative, consuming 5-10% of the energy of a petrol or diesel engine with zero emissions and no pollution.”

Meiring said the Western Cape stands to benefit hugely from the production and marketing of the Joule. “There is currently no single large manufacturer of electric engines anywhere in the world. If we can establish a solid manufacturing and exporting capacity for electric cars and engines, Cape Town will become an important player on the world stage as more people switch to environmentally-friendly vehicles.”

Meiring was invited to address this group due to his company’s dedication to energy efficiency and environmental friendliness.  This aligns perfectly with Accelerate Cape Town’s Vision 2030 goal of Cape Town becoming a green and beautiful city and a pioneer in the field of renewable energy. Meiring added that they aim to launch the car into the local market by 2014, which coincides with the appointment of a new World Design Capital, for which Cape Town is bidding.

Recounting the success of the past year, Accelerate Cape Town CEO Guy Lundy said the organisation, whose offices are hosted by KPMG, owes much of its success to the support of its 43 member organisations. “Since Accelerate Cape Town was established in 2005, we have grown our membership to over 40 of the largest corporates in the Western Cape. With significant buy-in from local and provincial government, and through close cooperation with other local business organisations, we have made great strides in realising our vision to make Cape Town Africa’s global city, a city of inspiration and innovation.”

A major success for the organisation over the past year was the recent Connect’d Cape Town International Business Breakfasts that were held on key match days during the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The business breakfasts provided an opportunity for local and visiting businesspeople to network and hear engaging talks by leaders such as Western Cape Premier Helen Zille, London Mayor Boris Johnson and futurist Clem Sunter.

Future projects for Accelerate Cape Town include supporting the city’s bid to be the World Design Capital in 2014, building business relationships with Singapore through the Spotlight Singapore initiative, and assisting the city with its bid to host the COP17 summit in 2011. “We have just successfully hosted a superb World Cup and have shown the world we are capable of being a world-class host city. Although mega sporting events such as the Olympics are glamorous, their return on investment is questionable – London is spending £91-billion on hosting the 2012 Olympics, a figure the city is unlikely to claim back. To be a first-choice destination – both for tourists and businesspeople – we must start hosting more political, cultural and annual sporting events,” said Lundy.

The meeting was held at member organisation Deloitte’s offices in Green Point.

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