Tech innovation conference for start-ups, investors

Cape Town - The AfricArena tech conference will take place at the Century City Conference Centre in Cape Town on 6 and 7 November 2017.

According to the organisers, it will be the largest ever tech innovation conference for start-ups and investors hosted on African soil.

As a precursor to AfricArena, Wesgro, Cape Town and the Western Cape’s official Tourism, Trade and Investment Promotion Agency, recently hosted a panel discussion with Silicon Cape and La French Tech.

The discussion included inputs from Ellen Fischat, Silicon Cape CEO, Christophe Viarnaud, Methys CEO and AfricArena lead, and Zachariah George, MD of Startupbootcamp.

The discussion focused on ways in which stakeholders can work together with business to build links with the French tech scene to ensure that Cape Town remains the digital and start-up capital of Africa.

Tech focused ecosystem

Cape Town and the Western Cape have an increasingly tech focused ecosystem. According to Wesgro, Cape Town is the leading location in the country for technology start-ups and venture capital.

Recent growth in the tech sector is evident, with 65% of venture capital transactions in 2015 relating to tech, compared to 29% in 2013.

The economic impact of tech companies is also significant, with one high growth, tech enabled company creating 200 plus direct jobs on average. About 60% of South African start-ups call Cape Town home.

According to Wesgro, Cape Town represents a number of opportunities and advantages to IT businesses locating in it, including the availability of ICT skills and the prevalence of an entrepreneurial culture.

"There is better availability of venture capital in Cape Town and companies benefit from agglomeration, with Cape Town having established itself as a key technology hub in recent years."

Disruptive tech

In particular, the City of Cape Town is looking to leverage on AfricArena to identify disruptive tech solutions to enhance its attractiveness as a Tourism destination and its ability to offer platforms to help boost employment in the City.

Tim Harris, CEO of Wesgro said Cape Town is increasingly establishing itself as the African technology hub. This represents huge opportunities for economic growth and job creation in the City and Province.

"Cape Town and the Western Cape provide the ideal tech ecosystem – a growing fibre network, a wealth of academic talent and an innovative and creative culture,” he said.

“The upcoming AfricArena conference will help grow the already strong relationship between France and the Cape, and contribute towards strengthening our region as the leading technology hub on the continent.”

Christophe Viarnaud, CEO of the international digital firm Methys said through a system of open innovation challenges and partnerships with numerous African organisations and incubators, they have worked hard to attract into one event the best tech entrepreneurs from the continent, the most dynamic corporates interested in innovation in Africa and a very large group of investors eager to work together to bring the best investment opportunities in Africa into their deal flow.

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