The Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative (CiTi) will announce tomorrow that it is building on its successful Fintech cluster and its highly acclaimed skills development and job readiness programme, CapaCiTi, by partnering to explore opening Africa’s first EdTech cluster and incubator. CiTi will announce the idea in London at Europe’s biggest EdTech conference, EdTechx Europe, http://edtechxeurope.com/ on a panel with some of Africa’s most exciting EdTech entrepreneurs.
This announcement coincides with the 40th anniversary of the Soweto Uprising, an event in which South African youth challenged the existing regime in a fight for fair and inclusive education. In South Africa and the wider continent, better education is THE key to building a better future. Today, governments face huge resource and delivery problems. Entrepreneurs are stepping forward to solve these problems with innovative and effective tech solutions.
The cluster/incubator will aim to spur greater innovation in education and skills development in the Western Cape and also across South Africa and the wider continent. It will give home-grown entrepreneurs the facilities, expert advice and introductions to funding they need to take their grassroots solutions national or even global. They will be given access to African and international experts to get the expertise they need to grow their business and increase their impact.
The cluster would have physical space at the Bandwidth Barn, and also virtual membership allowing EdTech start-ups from all around Africa to get the support they need to raise standards in schools, universities and adult skills.
CiTi’s partner in exploring the cluster/incubator will be Jamie Martin, former Special Adviser to the UK Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove. Jamie specialised on education for the Boston Consulting Group in London and the Middle East, and worked in venture capital focused on African education companies.
Ian Merrington CEO of CiTi says “Whilst on the one hand South Africa has a massive youth unemployment problem, on the other business’s struggle to find staff with skills which are appropriate for the new economy. Technology can assist to scale and leverage expert knowledge, teachers and programmes in order to reach and upskill many more people than would be the case in a conventional classroom.”
“The number of individuals, NGOs, private companies and government departments that are seeking solutions to Africa’s education problems highlights that education is in everyone’s hands to solve”, says Alethea Hagemann, Head of Skills at CiTi, “We are excited to support entities that are doing great work in this field, and assisting them in transforming education throughout Africa. Our recent successful partnership with Media24 to launch the Hub @ Media24 is testimony to private enterprise commitment to both skills development and partnerships.”