Founder of South Africa’s Impact Hub Lesley Donna Williams has been appointed chief executive officer (CEO) of the Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct, charged with ensuring the initiative reaches its full potential in developing South Africa’s next generation of tech innovators.
Disrupt Africa reported Johannesburg-based Wits University opened the doors to the Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct in September last year, with the multi-million dollar hub offering startup incubation, digital skills training, and research opportunities.
The precinct located in Braamfontein is home to programmers, designers, developers, entrepreneurs and startups; offering flexible open-plan co-working areas with broadband connectivity, computer laboratories, training rooms, maker spaces, creative content development environments, and administrative and infrastructure support offices. The area also houses the 10-year ZAR700 million (US$61 million) IBM Research Lab project.
Professor Adam Habib, Wits University vice chancellor, said when opening the Precinct last year that the initiative is driven by the aim to develop “a new generation of digital technology experts, innovators and entrepreneurs” capable of creating the new technologies “crucial” to South Africa’s economic growth and international competitiveness.
Lesley Donna Williams has now been appointed to lead the Precinct as it achieves these aims.
“As CEO, Lesley has been mandated to ensure that this initiative achieves its full potential,” Habib said.
Williams in 2010 founded the Johannesburg chapter of the Impact Hub network – the first Impact Hub in Africa. She has 17 years’ experience in setting up and running collaborative work spaces and associated programmes.