This project was conducted on behalf of the Lejweleputswa Development Agency (LDA) in the Lejweleputswa District of the Free State province of South Africa. The contract related to the conducting of a feasibility study for the establishment of a Technology Innovation Hub in the District. This project is in partnership with the Lejweleputswa District Municipality (LDM) and the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC). The Lejweleputswa District Municipality (LDM) is one of five District municipalities in the Free State Province. It comprises of five local municipalities namely Matjhabeng, Nala, Masilonyana, Tswelopele and Tokologo.
In following African Ideas human centred design approach, we realised that the District was actually looking at a way to reposition its economy away from the traditional gold mining (which has become a declining industry in the area) and agriculture. As a result of this, not only was the feasibility study developed, but the concept of a Lejweleputswa Technology Innovation Ecosystem was introduced.The eco-system includes a district wide broadband network, municipal shared services, sustainable energy and industrial projects and various other sub-project to ensure the success of a self-sustainable Technology Innovation Hub.
Key aims of the Technology Innovation Hub is to increase the competitiveness of the Lejweleputswa District by 1) stimulating a culture of quality and innovation among its associated businesses and knowledge-based institutions, 2) facilitating the transfer of knowledge and technology, and 3) by actively fostering the creation of new and sustainable innovation-based companies through incubation and spin-off processes.
The project included extensive research, online questionnaires, mapping of infrastructure and broadband networks, analysis of data, consultations, reviews and strategy development. The Hub (and associated ecosystem) is aligned to National and Provincial goal and strategies. This hub aims to get government, citizens and business to work together to develop and grow the economy – while solving the existing problems.
The feasibility study is complete and African Ideas is currently awaiting approval to commence to phase 2, in which African Ideas role will be to programme manage the implementation and oversee the operations.