The Western Cape is the most innovative province in South Africa. Two surveys (Ventureburn Startup Survey 2015 and PwC) show that between 56 – 59% of start-ups or emerging companies are based in the Cape Town city region including Stellenbosch. The Southern African Venture Capital and Private Equity Association also states that the Western Cape has 75% of all of South Africa’s VC-type deals. Looking at the patent activity of South African universities from 2009 – 2014, the four Western Cape universities accounted for 46.8% of the activity, and Stellenbosch University and UCT filed 120 PCT patents resulting in 24 spin-out companies in the same time period.

However, the reality is that South Africa is an efficiency driven economy investing between 0.7 – 0.9% of our GDP in R&D, whereas the most innovative economies spend 3.0 – 4.3% of GDP on R&D. So how can business collaborate, support and stimulate innovation? The aim of the Accelerate Cape Town Innovation Programme is to:

  • Provide discussion and collaboration between the four WC universities and the Cape Higher Education Consortium (CHEC) on the innovation value chain at universities
  • Create an ongoing platform for engagement with business and universities to determine how business can support universities through mentorship, guidance and collaboration
  • Enhance communication to create awareness of how to leverage the expertise from our universities and the value of Cape Town as a start-up destination
  • Understand the role of government and how the current legislative and regulatory environment is impacting on partnering.