Who we are

The Cape Innovation & Technology Initiative (CiTi) is a Non Profit Company with a mission to build a future-proof, inclusive society through technology and innovation.

CiTi does so by creating globally competitive tech and innovation sectors, to enable sustainable economic growth and greater employment.

CiTi was established in 1999 and works at the intersection of business, government and society to positively shape the future of the economy and society with the use of innovation and technology. We see this model as the key driver for systemic, regional change and progression.

Our success at building successful regional technology ecosystems are recognised in a recent Endeavor Insight, 2018 report “Evaluation & Network Analysis of the Cape Town – Stellenbosch Tech Sector”.

The report concluded “Cape Town is arguably the most productive and impactful tech hub in sub-Sharan Africa.”

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Our origin

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

– Margaret Mead

Our History – Over 20 years

  • 1997
  • 1999
  • 2000
  • 2001
  • 2006
  • 2006
  • 2010
  • 2010
  • 2011
  • 2015
  • 2015
  • 2015
  • 2015
  • 2015
  • 2016
  • 2016
  • 2016
  • 2016
  • 2016
  • 2016
  • 2017
  • 2017
  • 2017
  • 2018
  • 2018
  • 2018
  • 2018
  • 2018
  • 2018
  • 2019
  • 2019
  • 2019
  • Cluster Muster of ICT

    A catalytic event that brought like-minded individuals together that wanted to ensure a future-fit, inclusive society in Cape Town, South Africa and Africa.

  • Incorporated CiTi

    CiTi was established as a NPC (not-for-profit company) to build and energise an inclusive digital economy in Cape Town.

  • CiTi in Ovenstone House – incubator for Bandwidth Barn

     First physical premises/office dedicated for CiTi.

  • Launch of Bandwidth Barn in Lower Long Street

    Milestone to bring likeminded people together and first shared co-working space for tech businesses. The Barn becomes the centre of tech ecosystem and events in Cape Town. Co-funded by Department of Trade and Industry (national government).

  • VeloCiTi launches

    Incubation and entrepreneurial programmes for tech startups and businesses that want to scale.

  • Bandwidth Barn expands to new premises in Buitengracht Street

     Bandwidth Barn moves to bigger premises to allow for expansion.

  • CapaCiTi is launched

    Industry indicated a shortage of tech/digital skills, CapaCiTi launched to assist with training young South Africans for the digital/tech skill needs of business.

  • Bandwidth Barn expansion and move to Woodstock Exchange Building as anchor tenant

     Bandwidth Barn moves to Woodstock to enable further expansion. ‘Anchor tenant’ in developing this underdeveloped part of this city as a tech and creative node.

  • CapaCiTi launches BASA

    Focus on skills development of unemployed graduates with the first post-grad diploma (with the University of Cape Town) proves to be a very successful programme to launch digital career as Business Analysts.

  • BWBK launches

    Launch of Khayelitsha Bandwidth Barn to contribute to Township Economy and digital skills transformation in informal settlements.

  • First Women In Business programme launched

    Helping female-owned businesses adopt tech tools that can improve efficiency within their businesses.

  • Telkom Futuremakers

    Partnership for Innovation, Incubation and Acceleration, CiTi signs a multi-million rand 3-year project investment with National Telco.

  • FinTech cluster launched

    CiTi identified the lack of financial inclusion as being a constraint to participation for many people in the economy. A FinTech cluster was launched to support innovation in the financial services industry and to support blockchain and cryptocurrency initiatives.

  • Blockchain Academy launches at the Bandwidth Barn

    The Blockchain Academy was established in 2015 and was the first of its kind in Africa.

  • Name change from Cape IT Initiative to Cape Innovation & Technology Initiative

    Poised for growth and focus on creating a future-fit, inclusive society through innovation and technology, recognising that IT/ICT is no longer a sector but that a digitisation of the entire economy is taking place.

  • Barclays Rise becomes a member FinTech cluster with $1.5m investment

    Barclays Rise (now known as Absa Work in Progress), provides shared innovation space and incubation for fintech startups and facilitates co-creation of FinTech solutions.

  • Launch of The Hub @ Media24

    CiTi in partnership with Media24 (Naspers) opened The Hub @ Media24, with the purpose of training developers to fill the digital media skills pipeline.

  • Launch of Thomson Reuters Labs

    Thomson Reuters launched the Thomson Reuters Labs™ in Bandwidth Barn. The Lab’s purpose was to engage with the region’s vibrant innovation ecosystem and dynamic startup community to fuel growth and empower success for customers worldwide. The Lab delivered Bankable Farmer, connecting banks through data and technology to small farmers in Africa, creating financial inclusion by providing Banks the confidence to lend to farmers with no credit profile.

  • Launch of TravelTech Cluster

    The TravelTech cluster has a focus on creating linkages between developers, entrepreneurs, innovators and business within the digital travel value chain.

  • Launch of high-speed (300mps), low latency, uncontended connectivity in the Bandwidth Barn

    Telkom and CiTi partnered to launch a high-speed network targeting big data analysts and gamers. The organisations unveiled a 300Mbps fibre connection at the opening of The Basement co-working space and innovation lab in the Woodstock Exchange in Cape Town.

  • Launched Africa’s first EdTech cluster

    CiTi believes that technology has the power to transform education in Africa. Africa’s first EdTech Open Innovation Cluster was launched to support and encourage startups that are looking to impact and change the education system in South Africa and indeed the entire continent.

  • Launch FinTech Academy in South Africa

    Combined international expertise, along with local core capability to bridge the cutting edge of FinTech trends internationally with relevant South and African applicability.

  • First Royal Academy of Engineering programme facilitated by CiTi

    First Pan African initiative when CiTi was appointed as training and incubation partner for the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Africa Prize for 2018 and 2019. Cohort finalists included Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda and South Africa.

  • BCX and CiTi partnership with CiTiX

    BCX (a premier end-to-end digital solutions partner in Africa) committed to investing $7.6 million to grow scarce digital skills in ICT infrastructure and software programming alongside cyber security, fintech and artificial intelligence over three years, in partnership with CiTi.

  • CiTi unlocks $19m to support technology skills and job creation in South Africa

    South African National Treasury (part of SA government) ran a competitive bid process through an initiative aimed at stimulating employment, called the Jobs Fund. In a year-long selection process over a 1 000 competitive bids were evaluated and CapaCiTi were one of a handful of winners and were awarded a $5.7m grant over 3 years, with the obligation of raising another $11.5m in match funding and creating 3 000 jobs for unemployed youth.

  • Launch of new CapaCiTi campuses in Cape Town and Johannesburg

    To accommodate the scale up of students, CapaCiTi launched two state of the art campuses in two major cities in South Africa accommodating 300 students in total.

  • Launched specialised EdTech incubator – Injini

    Specialised incubator for startups across Africa that can influence education and learning across the entire education value chain from early childhood development until tertiary education (and later).

  • Publication of Endeavor Insight Report

    An evaluation and network analysis of the Cape Town – Stellenbosch Tech Sector, part of a world-wide best practice (as developed by Endeavor Insight), was conducted, concluded that Cape Town is the most productive tech ecosystem in Africa. The conclusions of the report recognised CiTi’s significant role in cluster creation and catalysing the digital ecosystem, which led to this outcome.

  • Explore Data Science Academy launches campus at Bandwidth Barn

    The Explore Data Science Academy is leading the way in teaching students how to solve real world problems with the latest tool, algorithms and platforms. Providing credited 1-year long Data Science training to young people from across South Africa.

  • Digital skills partnership launch

    It is a powerful national partnership to grow South Africa’s youth talent for the digital economy with founding organisations Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator, Cape Innovation & Technology Initiative (CiTi), Explore Data Science Academy, WeThinkCode, Tshimologong and the Johannesburg Centre for Software Engineering at WITS University.

  • Launched specialised incubator and lab for Biotech – BioCiTi

    Specialised incubator for startups across Africa within the biotech sector and first non-university open innovation laboratory.

  • CapaCiTi launched learning platform and App

    CapaCiTi’s experiential learning focus has resulted in the  development of a holistic training and internship programme that is designed to integrate Future World of Work skills and technical training. CapaCiTi developed a learning platform that is hosted on OpenEdx (platform behind Harvard and MIT’s edX) and a data sensitive application that compliments the online learning platform they use while on campus.

How we work

CiTi works at the intersection of business, government, academia and society to positively shape the future of the economy and society with the use of innovation and technology. We see this model as the key driver for systemic, regional change and progression. CiTi focusses its work through the following interventions: 

Entrepreneurial development, support and incubation

Digital job readiness and skills development, training young people to enter the digital economy

Open innovation clusters, picking industries of the future and supporting and stimulating growth.

CiTi continues to look at areas that will be transformative in 20 years and have an impact in five years. We are scaling our work throughout the continent to stimulate and build inclusive transformation into the digital economy.

Areas of intervention

About us 1

The board

CiTi NPC board is made of a mix of experienced entrepreneurs, business executives and scientists. It includes the following individuals:

Joshin Raghubar

Chair of the Board

Ian Merrington

 CEO

Ashley Minnaar

 CFO

Brendan Hughes

Faith Kolala

Greg Reis

Raven Naidoo

Aisha Pandor

Ian Russel

Tamara Esau

Joshin Raghubar

Chair of the Board

Joshin Raghubar is an African entrepreneur in the media, marketing, and technology sectors. He is engaged in the evolving role of entrepreneurship, trust and innovation in the ‘good society’. He is the founder and Executive Chairperson of iKineo Ventures.

Joshin serves as the chairperson of the Bandwidth Barn, Africa’s largest non-profit incubator and accelerator for technology businesses; and chairperson of the Cape Innovation & Technology Initiative (CiTi), the public/private sector agency tasked with development of the region as a technology and innovation cluster. 

Joshin also serves as a non-executive director of both the Africa Leadership Initiative (Southern Africa) and the African Leadership Network. He is a fellow of the Africa Leadership Initiative and the Aspen Institute’s Global Leaders Network, a fellow of the United States-Southern African Centre for Leadership and Public Values, and a member of the Bertelsmann Foundation’s global Transformation Thinkers program. He is also in the 2016 class of Yale World Fellows. Joshin has a business science (honours) degree from the University of Cape Town, and a masters in development studies from the University of the Western Cape’s Institute for Social Development.

Ian Merrington

CEO

Ian Merrington is CEO of The Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative and The Bandwidth Barn and is also a Director of Injini, Africa’s first EdTech Incubator.  The Bandwidth Barn is Africa’s oldest technology incubator and is to-day regarded as one of the leading Technology business incubators in the world.

Ian is currently a member of the Economic War Room for Tech & BPO established by the WCGov, he also sat on the advisory boards of the University of Cape Town’s Information Systems department and also the Computer Sciences department. He was appointed an ambassador for AfricaCom 2018 (Africa’s largest Tech event) in recognition of his leadership role in driving Africa’s digital transformation.

Ian is passionate about the role of innovation in solving the challenges faced by modern societies. He believes that inclusive innovation can improve lives across the continent.

In his current role as CEO of CiTi, he has a focus on supporting and incubating inclusive tech enabled innovation, seeding technology clusters, creating job ready candidates for the Industry 4.0 and also accelerating tech entrepreneurs.

Ashley Minnaar

CFO

Ashley Minnaar is the CFO for The Cape Innovation & Technology Initiative (CiTi) and also sits on the board of Bandwidth Barn (Pty) Ltd and BioCiTi NPC. He is a qualified Chartered Accountant and has 20 years commercial experience.

After completing his articles he joined Platinum Group as their Accountant for 2 years.Thereafter he spent 8 years with Storm Telecom (Pty) Ltd and acted as Financial Director for 6 of these.Storm Telecom were the pioneers in VOIP technology in South Africa.He played a key role in selling the business to Vox Telecom for R350 million in 2008.He then joined the Slick Restaurant Group as CFO for 2 years.The Slick Restaurant Group ran a successful chain of restaurants and owned the well-known franchise, St Elmos.

In 2011 he started his own consultancy business which has been in operation for 8 years.In 2014 he joined CiTi on a consultancy basis and officially became CFO for CiTi in 2018.

Brendan Hughes

Brendan Hughes is a legal professional and technology entrepreneur with an LLB from the University of Cape Town.

He has more than 15 years of experience in working with technology start-ups. Brendan currently serves as Chairperson of Injini EdTech Ventures, Africa’s leading EdTech incubator investing into EdTech start-ups across the African continent, and as a director of the BioCiTi biotechnology lab and incubator.

He is a co-founder of the LexVision Group, an international group of companies licensing and supporting legal industry technology solutions, including ShareBrief.com, MedBrief.co.uk and LexFutures.com.

Brendan also serves on the board of the Cape Innovation & Technology Initiative and on the Advisory Board of the University of Cape Town Faculty of Law.

Faith Kolala

Faith has more than ten years’ experience working for diverse organisations in both the private and public sectors.  As Manager for Catalytic Sectors in the Enterprise & Investment Department – City of Cape Town, Faith is responsible for managing and facilitating the implementation of sector development programmes; trade & investment strategies and interventions that are intended to encourage sustainable economic development in Cape Town.

Faith Kolala has investment promotion experience having previously worked at the Western Cape Destination Marketing, Investment and Trade Promotion Agency (Wesgro) as a Portfolio Manager.
Faith Kolala has a Master of Arts Degree in Economics (MA), specialising in Foreign Direct Investment and Trade within Southern Africa; an Honours and a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics. He has gone on to obtain certificates in Monitoring and Evaluation; Project Management; Municipal Finance Management; and Corporate Governance, among others.

In his current role, Faith Kolala serves on the boards of the Cape Innovation & Technology Initiative (CITI), a non-profit organisation responsible for the IT industry development in the Western Cape and the Cape Craft & Design Institute (CCDI), a non-profit organisation which is responsible for craft industry development in the Western Cape.

Greg Reis

Greg Reis graduated from the University of Cape Town with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Engineering in 1989. Soon after, he worked as a technology director at Client-Server (UK). In 1997, Greg became the CEO of BSG, a consulting and technology professional services business operating in the South African, pan African and United Kingdom corporate sector for about 21 years. Currently, he is the executive chair of BSG.

Raven Naidoo

Dr Raven Naidoo has a PhD in Physics from the University of Cape Town and a Masters degree in the Management of Technology and Innovation from the University of Sussex, UK. He is the CEO of Radian Corporation.

Raven has near unparalleled experience of business and economic development, especially in the technology sector. Since 1994 he has initiated and managed a number of government sponsored and other business development initiatives, including director and architect of the Governments premier small business development projects on Technology and Innovation Management, and Technology and Corporate Strategy; consultant to the Ministry of Trade and Industry and Coordinator of the World Bank study on Technical and Marketing Support to South African SMEs; consultant to the Ministry of Trade and Industry and Coordinator of the British ODA investigation into Business Support Services; member of the Dept of Communications e-Commerce reference team; Senior Consultant to the Cape Town Unicity on the development of an IT Strategy for the Cape Town Unicity and the Development of a Smart City; Senior Consultant to Wesgro on the State of the ICT Industry in the Western Cape; and consultant to Siemens SA on Mobile Business and the Internet.

He was the founding managing Director of Capricorn Park, and was also the managing director of the WorldOnline division of Vodacom. Most recently he has been active in the formation of a Primgro, a black empowerment holding company as well as undertaking business development projects. He has board level positions at The Cape Innovation Technology Initiative (CiTi) and the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC).

Aisha Pandor

Dr Aisha R. Pandor has a PhD in Human Genetics from the University of Cape Town and an Associate in Management from the UCT Graduate School of Business. Between 2011 and 2012, she received a South African Women in Science Award for her research and was named as one of the Mail and Guardian newspaper’s 200 Young South Africans. Aisha has served on numerous boards during her career.

Aisha is also the co-founder of SweepSouth (sweepsouth.com), an online platform for booking, paying for and managing homes cleaning services from your laptop, phone or tablet. Sweepsouth is the first company on the African continent to offer this service, and a 500 Startups Batch 14 alum that has gone on to create jobs for more than 10 000 people and R30 million in funding from Naspers.

Aisha previously worked as a management consultant, gaining experience in the telecommunications and mining industries.

Ian Russel

Ian Russel graduated from Swansea University with a Bachelor of Science in economics and received an MBA in Supply Chain Management from the University of Birmingham. After school, Russel spent many years working with Barclays in various positions such as Head of Smartsourcing, Client Relationship Director, and Operations Director. In May 2017, after Barclays, he went on to work at Absa and Telkom until finding a position at BCX as the Chief Executive Officer. In July 2018, he founded the Disrupting Consultancy, a company that works with boards and CEO’s to create new strategic direction, reposition themselves in the eyes of society, and incubate young businesses to fulfil the full potential to take on the world. Russel recently released his book, The Other End of Telescope, which focuses on business growth and success. 

Tamara Esau

A few years after graduating with a post graduate diploma in accounting from the University of Cape Town, Tamara Esau became a fellow of the Aspen Global Leaders Network in 2007. She spent time working as a partner for PricewaterhouseCoopers as well as a partner for KPMG. Tamara has been sitting on the Member Board of Trustees of the Mitchells Plain Bursary and Role Models Trust since 2014 and became a board member The Cape Innovation & Technology Initiative (CiTi) in 2018.