VENTURES: Cape Town In Global Technology Solutions
Recent Western Cape Business News
The City of Cape Town is one of eight major cities in Europe, Asia, Africa and North America that is participating with Living Labs Global in a competition to encourage NGOs and businesses to propose innovative solutions to major societal problems.
Each city invites solutions for a specific problem: Cape Town has invited proposals to set up a new type of venture capital fund that will support local entrepreneurs who use technology to address Africa’s social challenges. The other cities are Barcelona, Eindhoven, Lagos, San Francisco, Sant Cugat, Stockholm and Taipei.
Mansoor Mohamed, the City’s Executive Director for Economic, Social Development and Tourism, said: “This initiative aligns with the City’s strategy to position Cape Town as a global hub of knowledge, innovation and entrepreneurship. The eight winners of the Living Labs Global Showcase Award will be invited to pilot their solutions in these cities, proving the effectiveness of new solutions and offering a first step for innovative providers to enter new markets.”
Alderman Felicity Purchase, the Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Development and Tourism, said: “We believe this project will encourage residents and innovators around the world to help find solutions to our pressing problems. The City is particularly excited about the challenge it is presenting – to find innovative funding solutions for Africa’s entrepreneurs that can be locally developed and fostered”.
Living Labs Global is a non-profit association to promote digital service innovation in cities. It will work with a local judging panel to choose five finalists and one winner who will then receive support from the City to implement their proposed solution.
“The winner will have the commitment of the City to pilot their project, with full institutional support to evaluate the impact the solution can have on reaching our objectives,” says Mohamed.
“Cape Town is looking to establish a new type of Venture Capital Fund on the African continent that is geared towards indigenous entrepreneurs who use technology to create innovative solutions for Africa’s challenges. By using new technologies and funding systems such as micro-credits, community finance, social networks and open data systems entirely new ways of connecting investors and entrepreneurs may be found.”
“If successful, these entrepreneurs will become the employers of tomorrow, provide real solutions and ensure that investors enjoy healthy returns. Africa is the world’s newest market and has in excess of one billion people – and Cape Town is the knowledge and innovation portal to the continent,” Mohamed said.
The Living Labs competition is part of the City’s Activa strategy, which aims to build an “entrepreneurial eco-system” that attracts and encourages fast-growing entrepreneurial businesses in the city while developing skills, digital literacy, access to capital, job creation and an enabling infrastructure to benefit all residents.
In 2010 the competition attracted 317 entries from 32 countries. The eight participating cities, representing 40 million citizens, call for solutions that can solve some of their most pressing challenges. Challenges include social inclusion, intelligent transport, urban service automation, urban lighting, open data systems, smart living and healthcare.
Entries for the Living Labs Global Showcase Award can be submitted until 28 February 2011, by visiting www.livinglabs-global.com or by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org
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