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The Silicon Cape

By Guy Taylor

The emotions that drive us are strange things, anger over the dehumanisation of Caster Semenya, fear of an unknown East taking over an unfit West, and hope for a better day, and a better land that we love. Yes I’m an ardent patriot, doing what I feel is necessary to change the landscape for a better South Africa, and it seems I’m not alone.

Rockstar entrepreneur (and poker player) Vinny Lingham and investment entrepreneur Justin Stanford shared a dream typical of many in this country, and instead of letting the typical culture settle into it, have pushed on it and pushed hard. Part of the problem that faces this country going forward is what I refer to as corporate succession planning, the gap between the larger corporates and the younger entrepreneurial type companies that can help us push for new blood in the business lifescape.

There are many causes for this; whether it be the interesting way our talent moves, either snatched up by the larger entities for security, interesting company jumping for higher packages, or exporting itself because of a lack of trust and security, or the hold back from government, given difficult tax laws and poor incentive, and one can’t forget the economic elephant in the room. The above are just a few variables impacting the lack of start-ups in South Africa, and yet the skills that we have, the passion that we have are at a global level (according to seven time start-up owner Gareth Knight).

So the question is then “What can we do about it?” As Vinny and Jus noticed the number of emerging start-ups in the Cape, and were reminded of the symbolic landscape of Silicon Valley as the future of California in the late 90s, they decided to share their vision for the Cape moving into Africa and do something about it.

The Silicon Cape vision is of an ecosystem in the Western Cape of South Africa that serves to attract and bring together local and foreign investors, the brightest technical talent and the most promising entrepreneurs to foster the creation and growth of world-class IP start-up companies in an environment that competes with other similar hubs around the world against the backdrop of one of the most beautiful settings and pleasant places to live, work and play on the globe.

In the style of a digital Martin Luther King, http://www.siliconcape.com went viral quickly and the team will be hosting their first event in early October. Western Cape Premier Helen Zille cleared her diary to talk to the tidal wave movement of entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and media that is breaking over this vision for the future.

I’ll see you in the Silicon Cape.

2 Responses to “The Silicon Cape”

  1. Stop thinking local, and start thinking global (or at the least European and English speaking markets) ;-)

    September 12, 2009 at 2:10 pm
  2. The thought process is two fold, it’s how to change a history of selling resources at ridiculously low prices to an international market that will sell them back to us at higher prices.

    As much as I hate to call people resources, the analogy similarities between some of our talent and gold is not lost on me.

    My understanding is that we are starting to think global, in a manner that can help uplift local, and I think it’s that which they are trying to achieve with the Silicon Cape.

    I do think, however, that you are right and that as a country we need to be reminded that we are on a global platform.

    September 13, 2009 at 4:21 pm

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