Ribbon Cutting of the Cisco EDGE Incubation Centre at Dube Trade Port. Photo: Supplied

DURBAN - Cisco South Africa today announced the launch of a R10 million state-of-the-art Incubation Hub in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal. 

This is the second facility of its kind, built by the company, in South Africa and aims to develop SMMEs as well as speed up their entry into the digital marketplace. 

The hub called ‘Cisco Edge Incubation Centre’ is part of the company’s commitment to action priorities of the country’s National Development Plan (NDP) 2030 in terms of creating jobs, enhancing skills development and boosting economic growth. 

"We welcome the establishment of the Cisco Edge Incubation Centre, here within the Dube TradePort Special Economic Zone. We see it playing an important role of developing our peoples capabilities in the areas of technology and innovation, we hope that this Incubation Centre," said KZN MEC for Economic Development, Tourisim and Environmental Affairs Mr Sihle Zikalala

The hub, which will be based at Dube TradePort, is a smart building with cutting-edge Cisco technology that offers complete business facilities including workspaces with high-speed broadband connectivity, video conferencing and collaboration platforms, as well as boardroom and training facilities. In addition, SMMEs will be able to connect with global Cisco experts, who can support them develop business ideas and concepts in a digital world. 

Dube TradePort Chief Executive Mr Hamish Erskine said, "We foresee the Cisco Edge Incubation Centre having a huge impact on developing local business and entrepreneurs throughout the province of KwaZulu-Natal, enabling them to build their capacity to compete on a global stage". 

"The facility will also be one of the cornerstones, of the knowledge-intensive firms that include an innovation center, BPO’s and research facilities that we look forward to bringing into the Dube City precinct over the next 10 years, as we develop the core of what will become a smart city around the King Shaka International Airport.  These facilities will leverage off new and existing world-class telecommunications and cloud computing infrastructure which is available within Dube TradePort Special Economic Zone, we are proud to have been chosen as the location to host such a cutting edge business incubation center," said Erskine.

"Our goal is to enable SMMEs to accelerate their growth by ensuring they get access to world class technology.  We are living in a world that is changing faster than ever imagined and we are inspired by the prospect of an economy with abundant jobs, a place where entrepreneurs can thrive," said Clayton Naidoo, General Manager for Cisco Sub-Saharan Africa. 

Naidoo added, "With technology comes many opportunities, especially in Africa, the fastest growing region in the world. Cisco recognises Africa’s talent and we want to continue being an enabler of tech ecosystems across the continent. With our resources, SMMEs are not only able to grow but also stay competitive". 

Erskine said that the objective of the Cisco Edge Center is to create a circle of opportunity for unemployed ICT graduates and we plan to do this with an ecosystem of partners. Representing the public Sector ecosystem will be SITA, who will work in partnership with Cisco to incubate SMME’s and ensure that they have the required skills to design, implement and manage government networks.  These selected SMME’s will have equal opportunity to bid for SITA/ government ICT projects.

The centre will provide SMMEs the opportunity to employ graduates from its Networking Academy (NetAcad) program to give them workplace experience. Netacad is the world’s largest classroom giving students hands-on digital skills training for in-demand careers.  For 20 years, NetAcad has changed the lives of 9.2 million students in 180 countries. In South Africa alone, more than 62,000 students (29 percent of whom are female) have been trained with technical skills.

The name of the centres stands for the competitiveness that most of these small businesses lack to establish and sustain successful enterprises. It is this resilience that we are determined to arm them: Experience, Design, GTM (Go to Market) and Earn.

BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE