The Silicon Cape will step up pressure and dialogue with provincial and national Government after its new committee held its first meeting today (Wednesday).
In an exclusive interview Alexandra Fraser, the first woman Chairperson of the non-profit organisation, told HumanIPO she aims to make the group financially sustainable during her two year term and make progress in discussions with the authorities to ease the restrictions on overseas investors.
There are now 13 committee members, which crucially include Tim Harris MP, the Democratic Alliance’s Shadow Minister for Finance, who was elected to the new position of Government Liaison.
Fraser, whose day job is Business Development for venture capitalists invenfin, stressed Silicon Cape is an apolitical body, and said: “There are enough people and organisations who are starting to hold meetings with government and the relevant departments to actually highlight the issues and I think the response has been positive.
“But government is an organisation that moves fairly slowly so we can’t expect things to be changed overnight. We didn’t have a Government Liaison position before, but we have committed to it because we need someone who is passionate about it who can drive things forward.”
Some of the obstacles Silicon Cape wants to tackle include the inability to freely move currency across borders, reducing the cost of receiving small foreign payments and the inability to participate in global digital payment networks.
They are also lobbying to speed up the penetration of globally competitive, high-speed, low-cost bandwidth.
The Silicon Cape currently has just under 7,000 signed up members and everyone involved in the committee and management of the group are volunteers. Fraser has made achieving a sustainable model another of her priorities.
“We have raised some funding through initiatives and we are very grateful, but to take Silicon Cape to the next level we need some kind of income to employ an operational team.”
A transcript of HumanIPO’s interview with Alexandra Fraser will be published tomorrow.