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Wednesday, May 25, 2022

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Innovation Co-Lab, which was destroyed in July looting, relaunched

The US Consul General in Durban, Anne Linnee opened a special American Space at the Lab.

The US Consul General in Durban, Anne Linnee opened a special American Space at the Lab.

Published May 13, 2022

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DURBAN - AFTER being completely destroyed in last year’s July unrest the Innovate Durban Innovation Co-Lab is back again in Cato Manor, with innovation and technology-driven entrepreneurship at the forefront.

The relaunch took place on Wednesday at the Umkhumbane Entrepreneurial Support Centre in Cato Manor.

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During 2019 and early 2020, Innovate Durban established the first township innovation lab in KwaZulu-Natal. But during last July’s civil unrest, the lab suffered equipment and structural damages that totalled R1.6 million.

It was reported that the South African Special Risks Insurance Association (Sasria) estimates that damage in July’s looting and mayhem, the most costly riots in the country, cost more than R50 billion, for which the agency had received claims of up to R32bn.

In Cato Manor, many buildings were looted or damaged.

The US Consul General in Durban, Anne Linnee, who was at the relaunch, opened a special American Space at the Lab.

“The American Space will allow for various American business content and resources to be made accessible to the local community,” said Mohamed Chohan of Innovate Durban.

Chohan said the lab is 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. It houses experts who provide much-needed technical skills to the surrounding township community and the greater Durban region.

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“The Lab is equipped with digital training rooms for various classes such as software, design thinking, coding and robotics. It’s also equipped with drone building technology, laser cutting machines, 3D printers and robotic kits,” he added.

Chief Executive Officer of Innovate Durban, Aurelia Albert at the relaunch event. Picture: Supplied

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Innovate Durban CEO Aurelia Albert said the lab is an actualisation of national government’s plan to expand these hubs into the rural and township areas.

“Innovate Durban is aligned to the Department of Science and Innovation plans to establish Living Labs across the country in an effort to encourage the co-creation of solutions at a community level and to drive local economic development,” Albert said.

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