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Repositioning the Garden Route as a Technology Destination

The Garden Route has long been a quiet tourist destination, with little technology focussed business happening in the coastal towns of George, Knysna and Mosselbay.

The top industry sectors in the region has always been tourism and agriculture, with building and property development coming third. Recent economic changes has seen the building industry shrink, and the ongoing drought has made agriculture less sustainable. The economic profile of the region needs a change in order to sustain growth and employment.

Repositioning the region as a technology destination is not only a smart economic move, it is also the ideal move given all the region has going for itself already.

It has the infrastructure, the people, political will and the ability to make it happen.

Infrastructure

  • Airport servicing all key centers, well established roads network
  • Reliable power and other municipal services
  • Fast and stable internet connectivity to other key centers
  • Already well established Call Center industry

People

  • Top class world experts in technology are already based in and operate from the region
  • Lots of well educated and articulate matriculants and students are available locally, making it easy to recruit a high tech workforce
  • Many highly skilled people have retired to the region, bringing with them a wealth of experience

Political Will

  • Provincial government is adding its weight behind the various initiatives and creating the framework for economic development through technology.
  • Regional government is willing and able to bring technology and innovation to the lives of all the region’s citizens.
  • Local government is able to make it happen by creating the environment that makes technology investment more attractive.

Key Enablers

  • The Garden Route IT Consortium is leading the way in bringing the local IT industry together and joining forces with local, regional and provincial government to market the region as a technology destination. The IT Consortium is also attracting new technology business to the region by allowing multiple local companies to pitch for national business as a cohesive unit.
  • Digital Village is creating the next generation wireless backbone that will service the entire region and enable innovation and entrepreneurship to flourish. Digital Village is a non profit section 21 company and is already connecting the region’s schools and communities to the network, and the world.
  • Western Cape Provincial Government’s Economic Development department  is working closely with the Garden Route IT Consortium to explore various initiatives that will promote and strengthen the region’s technology focus.
  • The Regional Innovation System is a Department of Science and Technology initiative. It brings businesses, institutions and government (Triple Helix)  together to jointly and individually play a part in promoting innovation processes within a province, and have a key role to play in economic development and regional and national competitiveness. In the Garden Route the Regional Innovation System has the backing of local government and local business, and is a key driver in redefining the technology destiny of the region.
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