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KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Finance, Mrs Belinda Scott, and MEC for Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Mr Sihle Zikalala, launched two multi-million rand projects to boost the economy of the City of uMhlathuze in Richards Bay last Friday.

Scott turned the sod of a R35-million Techno Hub project and Zikalala unveiled the R16-million Gate Complex in Phase 1A, which signals the readiness of the Richards Bay Industrial Development Zone (RBIDZ) to attract even more investors. These projects are earmarked to stimulate economic growth in the area through science, research and technological innovations.

The RBDIZ Techno Hub is the second of four science and technology innovation centres to be rolled out in KwaZulu-Natal, after the Provincial Treasury launched the first techno hub in Port Shepstone last month. Two more will be launched soon, in Newcastle and Pietermaritzburg.

These Techno Hubs are expected to draw high-tech entrepreneurs, private businesses, academic institutions, researchers and investors interested in providing concepts through innovationo create platforms for the commercialisation of technology and innovation-based businesses.

  • Click here to read MEC Scott's full speech

The KwaZulu-Natal Treasury, in partnership with Hibiscus Coast Municipality, has rolled out a state of the art technology initiative in Gamalakhe township near Port Shepstone in KwaZulu-Natal.

The launch of the first Techno Hub in the province was attended by the Mayor of Hibiscus Municipality, Cllr Nomusa Mqwebu, Head of KZN Treasury, Simiso Magagula, local leadership and school children from Gamalakhe township.

Speaking during the launch, Magagula said: "The concept of technology hubs is familiar in other developed countries. However, as South Africa, we have not been thinking and investing enough in technology. This area of the province is very good in agriculture and this hub can house all the technological development in agriculture.

"We are building four of these hubs in the province. They will be in Port Shepstone, Pietermaritzburg, Newcastle and Richards Bay. This was made possible through funding from the European Union. We hope that projects like these will generate employment opportunities for the youth," he said.

Mqwebu said the technology hub is one of the catalytic projects in Port Shepstone. "This programme will create access to technology for the youth of our area and improve technological skills for them," she said.

Ntuthuko Gumede, 21, a student at Esayidi Technical Vocational Education and Training (Tvet) College, believes the initiative will improve internet access in the area, enabling young people to use technology to better their lives.

  • Issued by the Office of the KZN MEC for Finance. 
  • For more information please contact Musa Cebisa on +27 71 687 8777

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From left: Hibiscus Coast municipality councillor Bheka Cele; Hibiscus Coast municipality deputy mayor Johnny de Wet; Hibiscus Coast municipality mayor Nomusa Mqwebu; Head of Department of KZN Treasury Simiso Magagula; Neli Shezi of the KZN Treasury; and Hibiscus Coast municipal manager Max Mbili

The Port Shepstone Techno Hub was officially launched at an Innovation Day event today, 30 June 2016. The event, hosted by the the KZN Provincial Treasury in partnership with the Hibiscus Coast municipality, was held in Gamalakhe township near the town to introduce the science and technology park to interested stakeholders, the media and invited members of the community.

As the first of four such Techno Hubs which are being developed in the province, the Port Shepstone Techno Hub will add a welcome new dimension to the area's traditional rural economy by providing a collaborative space for business and young entrepreneurs.

Several dignitaries attended the event at the Ugu Sports Centre, including Hibiscus Coast municipality mayor Cllr Nomusa Mqwebu and KZN Treasury head of department Simiso Magagula. 

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KZN Treasury head of department Simiso Magagula delivers the keynote address

As part of the event, a sod turning ceremony took place at the site where construction on the Techno Hub has already commenced.  

The Port Shepstone Techno Hub has been identified as an ideal location for a Sports Academy centre of excellence. It is expected that training, research and development in sporting facilities will be housed in the innovation cluster.

In addition, the local government plans to establish a base at the Port Shepstone Techno Hub to provide services to members of the community.

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From left: Jon Heeger (Project Manager, GWI Group); Themba Thomo (architect); Lee Barker (entrepreneur); Lindiwe Zulu (Minister Small Business Enterprise) ; Arthur Wade Anderson (Got Game Founder and Chief Executive Officer); Shan Naidoo (Got Game Chief Compliance Officer)

Jon Heeger, of the GWI Group, the company managing the KZN Techno Hubs project, had the privilege of meeting the minister of the Department of Small Business Development, Lindiwe Zulu, earlier this month.

Heeger was on a scheduled visit to The Box Shop in Soweto, Gauteng and briefed Zulu - who was visiting the retail outlet at the same time - on the progress of the KZN Techno Hubs initiative.

"Our take-out (from the meeting) was that our approach is entirely consistent with the minister’s own thoughts of how to develop small business," said Heeger, adding Zulu's support for the Got Game/Box Ship model as executed in Soweto was "enthusiastic".

The Box Shop is a lifestyle retail outlet located at the historic Vilikazi Street, a vibrant tourist hotspot in Soweto. It forms part of The Box Shop incubator, which was created to support and co-develop competitive retail products with young South Africans. The Box Shop incubator won the award for the most innovative incubator in South Africa competition this year run by the Department of Small Business Development.

Got Game, the social enterprise responsible for building The Box Shop, has signed an expression of interest to get involved in all four of the Techno Hubs across KwaZulu-Natal. The Techno Hubs will be located in Port Shepstone, Newcastle, Pietermaritzburg and Richards Bay. 

"The Got Game guys are working hard to present to us a template for a business model for rollout of similar concepts to each Technohub, based on the Soweto Box Shop model, but adapted and 'tweaked' for the specific circumstances of each Techno Hub site," said Heeger.

He said the KZN Techo Hubs strategy of concentrating on the rollout of the project at local and provincial level through the  "host municipality" model, with facilitation from the KZN provincial treasury, is the most effective mechanism for getting the "right" infrastructure investment in place and maximising the buy-in from and benefit to local communities.

In the case of the KZN Techno Hubs, the development of small business will be driven through innovation, training and enterprise linked to appropriate and accessible technologies.

fly high with KZN Techno HubsAs the skies above Newcastle play host to the largest airshow in the province, interested investors are urged to visit the Newcastle Technology Hubs team to find out how to make their business dreams take flight. 

The Newcastle Technology Hubs team will be on hand to field enquiries from interested parties at the sixth annual Newcastle airshow at the town’s airport on Saturday, 4 June 2016.

The team will be at its exhibition spot in the main terminal building along with a host of other exhibitors. The hub, to be built at the Newcastle airport, promises to boost economic development in northern KZN by offering a range of incentives, rebates and assistance for investors.

Situated midway between Durban and Johannesburg, Newcastle is well set to meet an investor’s every need.

Abundant water, competitive industrial electricity tariffs and service charges, and a large reserve of stable labour, ensures the town is geared for accelerated economic growth.

Add the well developed transport infrastructure and first world educational, medical and community services, and internationally acclaimed tourist attractions, and you have an offering that presents a a focused, structured and rewarding opportunity.

One of the major attraction at this year’s show will be the Silver Falcons. 

"We are honoured to be one of the few events affiliated with the prestigious team and the South Africa Air Force,” says organiser Johan Pieters.

While pilots take their planes to the clouds, visitors to the show will enjoy more than enough entertainment on the ground.

Helicopter flips will be available from 10am while land lovers will get to see Menno Parsons’ P51 Mustang Sally, Tiger Huey ZS-HGC chopper and Aero L39 Albatros in action, among many others.

Another popular event, the car versus plane race, will this year feature Neville Ferreira’s Slick 540 going toe-to-toe with a Mercedes Benz AMG beast.

The organisers will again this year give young pupils the opportunity to visit the airshow - not only for fun but for learning too. 

"We will be hosting an Ubuntu Educational Day for Grade 11 pupils with maths and science," said Pieters. "Some 700 youngsters from around northern KZN will have the once in a lifetime opportunity to attend the airshow and learn a little more about aviation."

KZN Techno Hubs at Newcastle Airshow

Newcastle has always offered entrepreneurs an opportunity to spread their wings - and they’ll have the perfect opportunity to do just that by visiting the KZN Technology Hubs’ display at the sixth annual Newcastle Airshow.

The Newcastle Technology Hubs team will be on hand to field enquiries from interested parties at its exhibition spot in the main terminal building at the town’s airport on Saturday, 4 June 2016.

As the skies above Newcastle play host to a myriad of dream machines, interested investors are urged to visit the exhibition stand to find out how their business dreams can take flight at the town’s technology hub.

The hub, to be built at the Newcastle airport, promises to boost economic development in northern KZN by offering a range of incentives, rebates and assistance for investors. 

Situated midway between Durban and Johannesburg, Newcastle is well set to meet an investor’s every need. 

Abundant water, competitive industrial electricity tariffs and service charges, and a large reserve of stable labour, ensures the town is geared for accelerated economic growth.

Add the well developed transport infrastructure and first world educational, medical and community services, and internationally acclaimed tourist attractions, and you have an offering that presents a a focused, structured and rewarding opportunity.

The Grade A certified airshow is one of few events the South African Airforce identify as one in which it will participate.

This year the Silver Falcon aerobatic team is back and a request for a Gripen fighter jet display has been submitted

“The Newcastle Airshow, considered by many as one of the major airshows on the South African calendar, will again attract fans from all over the province,’ said Johan Pieters, managing director of Champ Marketing.

Master Power Technologies owner Menno Parsons, one of the sponsors of this year’s show, will wow the crowds with his P51 Mustang Sally, Tiger Huey ZS-HGC helicopter and the Aero L-39 Albatros fighter jet.

The Newcastle Airshow is a family event for all as well as aviation fans and curious residents alike.

With many food stalls, a beer garden and exciting exhibitions it promises family fun all day long.

A Johannesburg-based social enterprise called Got Game has completed an application for participation in the KZN Techno Hubs project.

The organisation seeks to tackle challenges around education, health services and enterprise development in sub-Saharan Africa.

More specifically, the venture is aimed at addressing the needs of people in under served communities who have in some way been sidelined from participating fairly in a growing offline and online digital economy. 

Got Game designs, manufactures and delivers customised cubes, known as POP UPs (Point of Presence of Unleashing Potential) in the form of digital hubs, restaurants, clinics, gyms and a variety of other interesting spaces. Clients can choose off plan or have their own creation custom made. 

It has expressed interest in setting up a POP UP at each of the Techno Hub sites across KwaZulu-Natal. The focus of the Got Game project at each Techno Hub will be determined by the individual hub and “what is happening in the community space at the site”.  

The KZN Techno Hubs are being constructed in Port Shepstone, Newcastle, Richards Bay and Pietermaritzburg

Click here to download an Expression of Interest form  

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