R11m French tech lab launched in Cape Town


Cape Town - French Tech Labs - a R11m investment in the Western Cape - was launched at its new premises in Century City, Cape Town on Wednesday evening.

It is dedicated to innovative business incubation and disruptive development and plans to offer a range of services to the local tech sector.

According to Xavier d'Argœves, Consul of France in Cape Town, the French Tech Labs will be a conduit between the French IT sector and local start-up companies to tap into and promote digital skills.

Alan Winde, Western Cape Minister of Economic Opportunities, said at the launch that the French Tech Labs is a milestone for innovation in the region.

"In the Western Cape, our number one goal is the creation of opportunities for jobs, grow investment and grow the economy. We believe partnership is key in the process. To achieve this, we launched a focused growth strategy, called Project Khulisa," he said.

"We want entrepreneurs in the IT sector to develop new programmes for the three sectors identified by Project Khulisa as of great importance for the province, namely oil and gas services - especially in the Saldanha Bay area - agri-processing and tourism."

Winde said it is about developing an inclusive economy while making sure an enabling environment is created.

"The Cape is the fastest growing green economy in Africa and that is another where tech entrepreneurs can provide support," said Winde.

He is pleased with the kind of tech and innovation Cape Town is attracting and said things in the industry are happening at a fast pace in the city.

"French tech start-ups are accelerating very fast and it is exciting to have a connection with them through the French Tech Labs, which will offer links to 21 similar city hubs in the world," said Winde.

"I would like to see the French Tech Labs enabling the development of SA tech which will not only contribute locally but make a big impact in the world as well. I believe we will see global entrepreneurs evolve from this French Tech Labs space."

Tim Harris, CEO of Wesgro, the official tourism, trade and investment promotion agency for Cape Town and the Western Cape, said the city has the best tech skills pipeline on the African continent due to the number of quality tertiary institutions in and around the city.

"Cape Town is, therefore, the place to grow a company," said Harris.

"The city is in the incredible position to leverage skills from the developed and developing world in its midst."

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