Botswana Innovation Hub (BIH) has launched the Cyber City Kgotla, which is anticipated to facilitate the development and growth of innovative technology ideas among young innovators.
The Cyber City Kgotla provides Information Communication Technology (ICT) services such as provision of physical co-working space, access to high speed Internet, technical and business training, as well as testing platforms. All services would be free to users.
Launching the facility on Thursday, BIH ICT Developer Community Officer, Tirelo Ramasedi said the Cyber City Kgotla was intended to create an environment within the ICT park, where start-up technology entrepreneurs, multinational organisations, local ICT businesses and researchers could meet to dialogue and exchange knowledge. She said they were committed to adding value, with the ultimate output of social and economic solutions being created for Botswana and the rest of the world.
Ramasedi further said the ICT sector was faced with many challenges, which included the programmers not having the necessary technical platforms and the approximately 6,000 unemployed graduates who need to be absorbed into the market, as well as access to market for that budding tech-entrepreneur.
The Cyber City Kgotla since its inception in August this year has offered training to approximately 80 ICT students, graduates and professionals.
“This programme presents itself as a virtual and physical platform for the local ICT Developer Community to interact and engage. It is a platform where innovation, integrity, collaboration and excellence meet in ideas owned, values shared and synergies found,” she explained. She added that the facility would ultimately bear social and economic benefits to Botswana and other countries.
Ramasedi also said that they were committed to building capacity in the ICT industry.
“We are building a platform for those in the technology sector to actively engage from the researcher, developer, tech-entrepreneur and ICT corporate to investor,” she said.
She explained that the facility was established after they realised the critical role the ICT Developer Community plays in the innovation value chain and acknowledgment of the challenges encountered by the local ICT Developer Community, comprised of ICT students, ICT graduates as well as
“The Cyber City Kgotla facilitates the development and through this programme we would consistently engage and spearhead the local ICT developer community towards the development of local ICT content, skills enhancement and job creation,” she said.
Ramasedi further explained that through the physical co-working space, the facility would offer a solution to the problem of isolation, which a significant number of our developers experience from their workspaces.
“Access to high speed Internet, technical and business training, testing platforms, networking opportunities and competitions are the range of services that a Cyber City Kgotla member will access in their pursuit of developing their idea,” she said.
BIH Chief Executive Officer, Alan Boshwaen said the approach of the Cyber City Kgotla would work with academia and ICT corporate, specifically cell phone network providers.
“These are the two most critical stakeholders of the ICT Developer Community as academia possesses and produces the most important resource being human resource and knowledge, while the ICT Corporate’s provide the network, market guidance and platform to test, absorb and consume the ultimate ICT content and skills, she said.
To increase its national footprint, the Cyber City Kgotla continually is expected to continuously work with academic institutions to roll out services such as training and competition. They hope this will inspire a culture of innovation, skills transfer and technology entrepreneurship across the country.
BIH has also partnered with Microsoft Innovation Centre and the Department of National Internship Programme in the Ministry of Youth Sports and Culture to establish a Youth Empowerment Programme that facilitates skills development and transfer to young unemployed Batswana graduates.
The three organisations signed the KitsoWorks Memorandum of Understanding on Thursday to offer ICT support and training to Botswana interns within the private sector. KitsoWorks is a localised version of the Global Microsoft YouthSpark platform, with a job search function, youth mentoring and social and professional networking features.