Tech NGO celebrates 20th anniversary

CiTi members and their partners from the City of Cape Town, from left, mayoral committee member for economic opportunities and asset management, James Vos, head of entrepreneur development at CiTi, Lara Rosmarin, chairperson Joshin Raghubar, chief executive officer Ian Merrington and the City of Cape Town Enterprise and Investment members, Faith Kolala and Lance Greyling.

The Cape Innovation and TechnologyInitiative (CiTi) non-profit in Woodstock celebrated their 20th anniversary last Thursday, October 10.

The event was attended by entrepreneurs, business partners and officials from the provincial government and City of Cape Town.

CiTi’s mission is to create employment opportunities and sustainable growth through a globally competitive tech and innovative sector market.

CiTi chief executive officer, Ian Merrington, says the 20-year journey would not have been possible without their partners, which include the provincial government, the City of Cape Town and financial supporters.

“The City of Cape Town has supported us in our skills development programme and wellness programme, though we as an organisation have to stay close to the market and demonstrate impact,” he said.

The City’s mayoral committee member for economic opportunities and asset management, James Vos, says CiTi, in their CapaCiti programme, provides a special purpose, to provide a skills pipeline into technology.

“We must train young people in the skills that drive demand which makes business sense and not government sense.”

Mr Vos says one of the objectives is to position Cape Town as the “go to city” in Africa when it comes to investment, business and trade, and technology is the glue that will hold all these sectors together.

“It makes sense for us to partner with CapaCiTi to provide young people with the right skills.”

CiTichairpersonJoshin Raghubar says a group of dedicated people bought into the vision that they could create their own future.

“If we built a centre that invests in skills and technology, we could put Cape Town on the global map,” he said.

Entrepreneur Nasmera Buckus started the Startup Hatchery with her business partner, Tania Cunningham, in 2017 and has benefited by the training provided by CiTi.

“Our company is a virtual business incubator model, CiTi took our model and helped us refine it to understand who are target market is, how to deal with customer validation, and gave us support in terms of business skills and believing in our idea,” she says.

A virtual business incubator helps other early stage entrepreneurs with their business start ups.

Mr Merrington also praised the office workers of CiTi for their support in the 20-year journey.

Cindy Valentine, who has been a receptionist at CiTi for 12 years, says the experience has been “awesome”. “There has been massive changes from when I started, it was hard to adapt, though it was all for the better,” she said.