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Tshimologong celebrates 5 years milestone of developing Africa’s digital entrepreneurs.

Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct has reached an impressive milestone. This year marks five years of the precinct providing innovative and technology-based solutions to problems affecting the South African and the greater African economy.

Tshimologong meaning “new beginnings” in Setswana, a fitting name that the University of Witwatersrand chose for its Digital Innovation Precinct. Tshimologong is not only a catalyst hub that bridges the gap between South Africa’s digital skills shortage and youth unemployment. The precinct is also a place of new beginnings for many young tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and professionals in South Africa. In celebration of this milestone, the Precinct will be hosting an event on the 26th of November to give thanks for the continuous support.

Image: Quicket

Digital skills are vital in building a strong, competitive and sustainable economy. The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) has demonstrated its ability to transform various industries and drive innovative change. The Precinct commercializes world-class African digital innovation by helping the youth solve local problems with global appeal. This is achieved through its accelerated skills development program, Digital Skills Academy and the Youth Incubation programs. It builds strong relationships with partners, stakeholders, sponsors and communities. Over 500 young people and entrepreneurs have experienced positive growth since the beginning of the Precinct in 2016.

digital skills lab

South Africa’s youth unemployment rate is currently at a record high, in October the country’s unemployment rate amongst youth aged between 15-24 years was at 74%. The only solution to this problem is through entrepreneurship and digital transformation. With an understanding of these issues, being equipped with digital skills is crucial in South Africa. The primary mandate of Tshimologong is to empower, educate and upskill the youth to be creative, innovative, competent while contributing to the country’s economy. Some of the important success stories the Precinct has seen over the years is from one of the program beneficiaries, Lesego Vorster. He is currently the Co-founder of Hidden Hands Studios which will be producing an original Disney Plus film to be released in 2022.

Animation student

The Precinct has been in constant effort to transform youth, entrepreneurs and professionals to grow and thrive in this digital age. “The five years milestone is an ideal amount of time developing a track record of delivering our products and services. Like all initial startups, we tested and tweaked our offering and now have data to support the experience of our interns and entrepreneurs telling us that our methodology works”, says Lesley Donna Williams, CEO of Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct.

“Our purpose of the Precinct is to develop world-leading digital entrepreneurs, and we have both entrepreneurs and staff turned entrepreneurs who have excelled in doing so. We are proud to be the platform that catapults the success of our community. Now we need to mainstream African excellence around the globe”, Lesley adds.

South Africa and the broader African region has incredible talent. It may take us doing things differently to fully activate its greatest potential. This means being clear about our role in the value chain from investing in emerging talent to procuring from local digital entrepreneurs. Our nation has no shortage of problems, we have an abundance of unsupported skilled problem solvers that are hungry to make a difference and build businesses doing so.

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