Durban gets R10-million Cisco incubation hub

Cisco sub-Saharan Africa GM Clayton Naidoo

Cisco South Africa has launched a R10-million incubation hub north of Durban. Located at Dube Trade Port, near King Shaka International airport, it’s the second such facility to be build by Cisco in the country after one was opened in Pretoria late last year.

The Cisco Edge Incubation Centre is aimed at developing small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) and speed up their entry in the digital marketplace, Cisco said in a statement on Monday.

The centre consists is a smart building incorporating Cisco technology that offers business facilities such as workspaces with high-speed broadband connectivity, videoconferencing and collaboration platforms, as well as boardroom and training facilities.

“SMMEs will be able to connect with global Cisco experts, who can support them to develop business ideas and concepts in a digital world,” the company said.

According to the SME Landscape Report 2018/2019 by research company In On Africa, the small business sector is a critical component of the national economy, as it is a major source of employment that drives economic growth, Cisco said.

“However, the report — which surveyed over a thousand SME owners — also revealed that small businesses were young, vulnerable and in need of support. A key stumbling block was access to funding and access to market. Fifty-two percent of SME owners admitted that they needed a lot of assistance to reach markets as various industries were extremely competitive. As a result, many were failing in its first three years of operation.”

‘Accelerate their growth’

“Our goal is to enable SMMEs to accelerate their growth by ensuring they get access to world-class technology,” said Cisco sub-Saharan Africa GM Clayton Naidoo.

Dube Trade Port CEO Hamish Erskine said the objective of the Cisco Edge Centre is to create a “circle of opportunity for unemployed ICT graduates”. Partners will help in this regard. The State IT Agency, for example, plans to work with Cisco to “incubate SMMEs and ensure that they have the required skills to design, implement and manage government networks”.

“These selected SMMEs will have equal opportunity to bid for Sita and government ICT projects.”

“The kind of facilities at this hub will give entrepreneurs the kind of head-start they require to gain a competitive advantage. It will also help them stay ahead of the game in a tough marketplace, while boosting economic growth for the country,” Erskine said.

The centre will provide SMMEs the opportunity to employ graduates from its Networking Academy programme to give them workplace experience.  — © 2019 NewsCentral Media