RB construction

Construction works have begun on the site where the Richards Bay Techno Hub will be built.

The civil engineering teams involved in the multi-million rand project situated at the Richards Bay Industrial Development Zone (RBIDZ) have cleared the site and have begun marking out roadways.

The Techno Hub is expected to draw high-tech entrepreneurs, private businesses, academic institutions, researchers, and investors interested in providing concepts through innovation in order to create platforms for commercialisation of technology and innovation-based businesses.

It is seen as a platform for innovation that will enable businesses of any size to develop together, creating opportunities for collaboration, future development and growth.

At the unveiling of the project in August RBIDZ CEO Pumi Motsoahae said a key priority is to establish effective infrastructure to drive Richards Bay’s development objectives to become KZN’s prime investment hub.

“RBIDZ is committed to ensuring it plays its role in helping to achieve government’s objectives of creating employment opportunities and investments for our area, which will lead to poverty alleviation and skills enhancement,” said Motsoahae.

The uMfolozi TVET College and Mangosuthu University of Technology have expressed interest in the project to focus on the skills development and research into maritime and renewable energy rerspectively.

The RBIDZ is tailored for manufacturing of goods and production of services to boost beneficiation, investment, economic growth and the development of skills and employment.

The IDZ aims to encourage international competitiveness through tax and duty-free incentives, as well as world-class infrastructure.

KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Finance, Mrs Belinda Scott, and MEC for Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Mr Sihle Zikalala, launched two multi-million rand projects to boost the economy of the City of uMhlathuze in Richards Bay last Friday.

Scott turned the sod of a R35-million Techno Hub project and Zikalala unveiled the R16-million Gate Complex in Phase 1A, which signals the readiness of the Richards Bay Industrial Development Zone (RBIDZ) to attract even more investors. These projects are earmarked to stimulate economic growth in the area through science, research and technological innovations.

The RBDIZ Techno Hub is the second of four science and technology innovation centres to be rolled out in KwaZulu-Natal, after the Provincial Treasury launched the first techno hub in Port Shepstone last month. Two more will be launched soon, in Newcastle and Pietermaritzburg.

These Techno Hubs are expected to draw high-tech entrepreneurs, private businesses, academic institutions, researchers and investors interested in providing concepts through innovationo create platforms for the commercialisation of technology and innovation-based businesses.

Click here to read MEC Scott's full speech

The KwaZulu-Natal provincial treasury has begun leading the establishment of Techno Hubs in the province, with the first one officially established in Gamalakhe area, Port Shepstone on 30 June 2016.

The provincial treasury will launch the second Techno Hub in Richards Bay on 22 July 2016 in partnership with the Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs.

The focus and purpose of this project is based on what has been experienced and achieved internationally through the establishment and innovation of technology hubs. Using foreign examples as "best practice" but with a good understanding of conditions and opportunities in South Africa, the project will cater for the establishment, financing, designing, initial construction and preparation for the operating of four regional technology hubs in the province.

The four locations are uMsunduzi (at the Pietermaritzburg Airport), Newcastle (at the Newcastle Airport), Richards Bay (at the Richards Bay Industrial Development Zone [RBIDZ] Phase 1A site) and Hibiscus Coast (opposite the Shelly Mall, Shelly Beach).

Funding of R120m through the General Budget Support Programme has been secured over the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (2015/16 to 2017/18). The current funding will only support the development of phases 1 at each location, mostly for bulk infrastructure, some top structures to initiate the projects and development facilitation and planning.

Funding applications will continue to be submitted to augment the current funding.

A professional team has been appointed to support the project over the MTEF.

Significant private sector participation is being facilitated for top structure development.

The four "hub hosts" (the three municipalities and the RBIDZ) will own the hubs and will have to put operations and maintenance budgets and plans forward.

Each hub host has put forward an incentive policy for prospective tenants and investors.

A Johannesburg-based social enterprise called Got Game has completed an application for participation in the KZN Techno Hubs project.

The organisation seeks to tackle challenges around education, health services and enterprise development in sub-Saharan Africa.

More specifically, the venture is aimed at addressing the needs of people in under served communities who have in some way been sidelined from participating fairly in a growing offline and online digital economy. 

Got Game designs, manufactures and delivers customised cubes, known as POP UPs (Point of Presence of Unleashing Potential) in the form of digital hubs, restaurants, clinics, gyms and a variety of other interesting spaces. Clients can choose off plan or have their own creation custom made. 

It has expressed interest in setting up a POP UP at each of the Techno Hub sites across KwaZulu-Natal. The focus of the Got Game project at each Techno Hub will be determined by the individual hub and “what is happening in the community space at the site”.  

The KZN Techno Hubs are being constructed in Port Shepstone, Newcastle, Richards Bay and Pietermaritzburg

Click here to download an Expression of Interest form  


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