JoziHub, Johannesburg’s first technology incubator, was launched last night with founders promising it will be “dedicated to fostering entrepreneurship and innovation”.
The event, held at the “arty” 44 Stanley, Milpark, was attended by a list of high profile Jozi innovators, entrepreneurs and “thought leaders”.
Gustav Praekelt, founder of the Praekelt Foundation which founded the JoziHub, said: “Technology hubs can play a pivotal role in fostering the emergence of a new generation of African tech entrepreneurs.
“By providing the training, support, facilities and networks required to enable entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into sustainable businesses, incubators such as JoziHub can make an immediate and lasting impact on local innovation and development.”
The launch event focused more on encouraging attendees to network and exchange ideas, as is the aim of the hub.
Speaking at the function, Praekelt said JoziHub will be more than just a hot desk or working space for technologists and will become “the epicentre for technological development and entrepreneurship in Johannesburg”.
It is founded by the Praekelt Foundation and backed by Omidyar Network, Google and ISlabs.
Google’s Brett St Clair, born and bred in Johannnesburg, expressed his excitement at the launch and said how great it is that finally the city has a technology hub to compete with some of the best on the continent.
The main focus of JoziHub will be on solutions developed around the Internet, social media and mobile technologies that also address the country’s most pressing social challenges.
Also in attendance was Ithateng Mokgoro, who organises TEDx Soweto, which will run its first event at JoziHub next week. This will be the TED2013 Live Stream on Wednesday, February 27.
The event forms part of JoziHub’s plans to regularly host events that “bring together the continent’s leading thinkers and agents”.
Stephen King, Partner at Omidyar Network, said: “For Johannesburg tech entrepreneurs, today the world just became smaller and the path to innovation shorter.
“Our experience in Silicon Valley, as well as our support of technology hubs in Nairobi and Lagos, demonstrates the vital role JoziHub will play as an open, living lab where collaboration among social entrepreneurs and technologists will spark new ideas, nurture innovation and create socially minded ventures.”
Praekelt concluded: “Johannesburg has a vibrant community of innovators and world class thinkers whose ideas can transform the country, and indeed the African continent,”
“At JoziHub, we are seeking to harness this energy and allow its vast potential to be realised.”