Knowledge industries

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Knowledge industries
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Knowledge industries
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Cape Town and the Western Cape offer a dynamic digital ecosystem powered by tech-savvy investors and talented people, where opportunities to grow and make a difference abound. Digital innovative solutions are nurtured and thrive in this unparalleled beauty, with a lifestyle to match.

Cape Town is home to one of the top 10 largest tech investors in the world, Naspers.

Cape Town is ranked in the top 30 cities in the world at the forefront of global tech.

As Africa’s leading digital hub, Cape Town is home to several trailblazing and innovative firms that have reached great heights internationally.

Innovation and entrepreneurship are encouraged and supported by more than 20 local and international accelerators, proximity to top-rated universities, a supportive local government, and a high prevalence of venture-capital funding. Located at the tip of Africa, one finds in the Cape tech ecosystem an insatiable sense of purpose and opportunity, and a wealth of solutions-driven innovation.

The diverse ecosystem of companies across the value chain and a strong presence of supporting institutions provide for ease of business operations. The Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative (CiTi) is regarded as one of the oldest tech incubators on the continent. It has incubated more than 2 000 businesses and supported more than 3 000 entrepreneurs.

Cape Town accounts for the lion’s share of headquarters of the most well-known e-commerce companies in South Africa and is the birthplace for the majority of tech start-ups operating in the e-commerce ecosystem.

The Western Cape’s software and IT services sector has attracted more foreign direct investment than most other sectors, second only to business services.

As a growing AI economy we are home to a number of successful AI companies, including DataProphet, one of the first machine-learning specialists in Africa; Aerobotics, which provides on-demand satellite analytics; CLEVVA, which augments human intelligence; Genii Ai, a SaaS development company; Praelexis, providing products and solutions in education, banking and insurance, all built on a machine-learning platform; and Naspers, Africa’s highest-valued tech giant and investor of tech on a global scale.

The city is also home to many of the country’s top mobile and internet firms, as well as many leading digital agencies.

Recognised as a leading technology and innovation region in the southern hemisphere, Cape Town and the Western Cape offer you the solutions that you seek at low cost and premium quality.

International investors choose Cape Town due to the highly skilled local workforce; the entrepreneurial culture; its proximity to world-class universities, business schools and software development firms; the extensive ICT infrastructure; and the surf.

There are also benefits of agglomeration. The region is an established key technology hub in South Africa with a number of major companies launching their head offices in the city. This is, in turn, attracts other tech companies.

In a highly mobile sector, Cape Town’s natural beauty, which allows for a better working environment and lifestyle, is a strong pull factor for skilled employees.

One of the major advantages of Cape Town is the affordability of real estate for residential rent and in terms if co-working costs, relative to other high-ranking tech cities. Cape Town is the sixth most affordable city compared with the other 30 top global tech cities as rated by Savills.

The market for talent in the Western Cape, in particular the greater Cape Town region (Cape Town and Stellenbosch), is competitive but continues to grow. Government interventions to upskill talented individuals across the spectrum are taking place alongside a range of private-sector initiatives.

The presence of major corporates in the local ecosystem such as Amazon and SAP has contributed to the development of highly skilled individuals seeking to broaden their horizons through moving back to work in, invest in, or mentor smaller high-growth businesses. This has contributed to a dynamic and highly intra-connected tech ecosystem, as evidenced in the connectivity map that can be extracted from the Endeavor analysis of the Cape Town-Stellenbosch tech sector 2018.

Half of the top universities in Africa are in South Africa, with two of the top three universities located in the Western Cape. South Africa was also the largest African destination for foreign direct investment into research and development activity between 2003 and 2018, valued at US$345-million, with 13 investment projects. The Western Cape has four major tertiary education institutions:

  • University of Cape Town (highest QS World University Ranking among African universities)
  • Stellenbosch University (third highest QS World University Ranking among African universities)
  • University of the Western Cape (17th highest QS World University Ranking among African universities)
  • Cape Peninsula University of Technology

In 2017, approximately 76 015 students were enrolled in the four Western Cape universities in the science, engineering and technology fields.

Western Cape universities also attract a large number of top students from the rest of the continent, with 72% of international students coming from other African countries.

Please download our 2020 International Trade Mission Plan, visit the market opportunities page, or contact us to get in touch with the dedicated Trade Unit, which is ready to answer any questions.

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The Wesgro Trade Unit provides a free and confidential service to help you establish and grow your business in Cape Town and the Western Cape. Our diverse economy, strong skills base and well-connected infrastructure present many opportunities for foreign buyers seeking high-quality goods and services, as well as exporters looking to expand into the African market.

Read our latest sector and country fact sheets and research reports to identify new opportunities to grow your business.

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