CiTi launching edtech cluster at Bandwidth Barn

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The Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative (CiTi) announced today an edtech cluster after the successful launch of fintech and travel tech equivalents.

CiTi executives are in London at the EdTechx Europe conference, where they have announced the launch of the new cluster, located at the Bandwidth Barn in Woodstock.

A fintech cluster was launched last year, which has attracted entrepreneurs and multinationals to locate and invest in the Western Cape financial innovation sector, while CiTi also recently announced the launch of a travel tech cluster at the same location.

The launch of the edtech cluster coincides with the 40th anniversary of the Soweto Uprising, when South African youth challenged the regime in a fight for fair and inclusive education. CiTi said in South Africa and the wider continent, better education is the key to building a better future, with entrepreneurs stepping forward with innovative and effective tech solutions for the sector.

The cluster will aim to spur greater innovation in education and skills development in the Western Cape, across South Africa and the wider continent, providing home-grown entrepreneurs with the facilities, expert advice and introductions to funding they need to take their solutions forward.

It will have physical space at the Bandwidth Barn, and also virtual membership allowing edtech startups from across Africa to get the support they need to raise standards in schools, universities and adult skills.

CiTi have partnered Jamie Martin, a former special advisor to the United Kingdom (UK) secretary of state for education Michael Gove. Martin specialised on education for the Boston Consulting Group in London and the Middle East, and worked in venture capital focused on African education companies.

“Whilst on the one hand South Africa has a massive youth unemployment problem, on the other businesses struggle to find staff with skills which are appropriate for the new economy. Technology can assist to scale and leverage expert knowledge, teachers and programmes in order to reach and upskill many more people than would be the case in a conventional classroom,” said Ian Merrington, chief executive officer (CEO) of CiTi.

“The number of individuals, NGOs, private companies and government departments that are seeking solutions to Africa’s education problems highlights that education is in everyone’s hands to solve,” said Alethea Hagemann, head of skills at CiTi.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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