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Innovate Durban American Space labs launched to allow various American content and resources to be made accessible to the local community

The U.S Consul Anne Linnee expressed her happiness in the opening of the Umkhumbane Entrepreneural Support centre, which is open to everyone who wants to utilise it for academic purposes and business assistance, in Cato Manor. Picture: Tumi Pakkies/African News Agency(ANA)

The U.S Consul Anne Linnee expressed her happiness in the opening of the Umkhumbane Entrepreneural Support centre, which is open to everyone who wants to utilise it for academic purposes and business assistance, in Cato Manor. Picture: Tumi Pakkies/African News Agency(ANA)

Published May 12, 2022

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Durban - The US Consulate General Durban and Durban Innovate launched the Innovate Durban American Space on Wednesday at Umkhumbane Entrepreneurial Support Centre in Cato Manor.

This initiative will allow various American content and resources to be made accessible to the local community. Durban Innovate co-labs were initially designed to empower people to become more innovative in problem-solving, create opportunities for new businesses, create jobs, and tackle social issues in their community.

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Innovate Durban CEO, Aurelia Albert said the facility was also made for easy access to the fourth industrial revolution for economic growth and an inclusive innovation ecosystem with a focus on industry, spatially excluded or marginalised persons, the public sector and SMMEs.

However, during the July unrest, it was badly damaged, which led to the closure of the centre. After 10 months of closure, the US consulate has partnered with Durban Innovate to make sure that the facility is up and running for the community.

Albert said even after all these hurdles, they never gave up as their focus was on the end goal and they knew that this was just a minor setback.

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“While we were devastated by the unrest, with all our assets destroyed and the building being destroyed too, we remained committed to our mission as our main goal was to achieve what we were set to do,” said Albert.

Consul General Anne Linnee said they could not be happier to partner up with organisations that were all about entrepreneurship and innovation, and the commitment of the team was what drew the US Consulate to them.

“After months of patience and perseverance, we are so impressed with the work that has been done here and they renovated and made it better than it was before and that just shows how invested they were into wanting to make it work.

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“This is the first township innovation centre, it has 3D printers, sewing and embroidery machines that the members of the community are always welcome to try out if they want to learn how to use them. People and pupils from the community can always come to study or grab a book to read,” Linnee said.

CEO of Skyhigh Innovations, Ntando Ndimande, said the lab was fundamental in the development of his business and he had used the resources a lot, so the reopening of the lab was something that he was looking forward to.

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