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.
One of the main goals of the municipality is to make the Lejweleputswa District more competitive. To do this, the municipality encourages a culture of quality and innovation among its affiliated businesses and institutions of higher learning, plans the transfer of knowledge and technology from its sources to businesses and the market, and actively supports the formation of new and sustainable innovation-based companies through incubation and spin-off processes. In turn, this would lead to the creation of work possibilities in the area. One of the key aims of the municipality is to increase the competitiveness of the Lejweleputswa District by stimulating a culture of quality and innovation among its associated businesses and knowledge-based institutions, organising the transfer of knowledge and technology from its sources to companies and to marketplace, and by actively fostering the creation of new and sustainable innovation-based companies through incubation and spin-off processes. This would in turn result in creating job opportunities in the area.
The Lejweleputswa Development Agency (LDA) contracted African Ideas to develop the feasibility for the establishment of a Technology Innovation Hub. Through comprehensive research and expertise, a feasibility study was developed, along with the introduction of a strategic framework for a Technology Innovation Ecosystem. This ecosystem includes a Broadband Network, Municipal Shared Services and sub-projects all to be included to ensure the success of a self-sustainable Technology Innovation Hub.
In following African Ideas human-centered design approach, we realized 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-projects to ensure the success of a self-sustainable Technology Innovation Hub.
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 goals 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.