Tech Edition

Appointment of New Silicon Cape Co-Chair Ushers in a New Era for the Initiative

Tech Edition

Vusi Thembekwayo and Dr Sumarie Roodt team up to tackle ecosystem issues

Serial entrepreneur, venture capitalist, author, speaker and Founding CEO of MyGrowthFund Venture Partners, Vusi Thembekwayo, has joined the Silicon Cape board, effective from 1 March 2021.

“Having someone of Vusi’s calibre come on board is not only a massive achievement and milestone for the organisation and the ecosystem, but it also means that we are determined to tackle the systemic challenges that exist in our ecosystem such as the structural inequalities and the relative lack of diversity,” shares Silicon Cape Chair, Dr Sumarie Roodt.

The Silicon Cape board will be moving to a co-chair governance structure and will now be led by Roodt  and Thembekwayo as co-chairs who will guide the Initiative.

On his appointment, Thembekwayo says, “Silicon Cape leads in the work that it’s been doing because it is by far the most advanced platform on the continent for innovators, entrepreneurs and founders building businesses. What I’m excited about is how we take the work that Silicon Cape is doing and turn it into industry-standard best practice, while also democratising access to innovation and technology so that it is no longer the mainstay of a particular demographic based in one part of the country.”

He adds that, given South Africa’s social climate and its challenges at an economic level, the country has to start thinking about how to build its future. “The only way it can do this is if it is a part of the acceleration of innovation and adoption of technologies. At the moment, we are a net recipient of the world’s technologies, but we have got to become a net contributor. I think that Silicon Cape plays a fundamental role in getting more people involved and excited about innovation and the technology sector.”

Regarding this milestone for the organisation, Silicon Cape Initiative Co-Founder, Justin Stanford, says, “When we started the Silicon Cape Initiative in 2009, we could only have dreamed of some of the progress that has been made to date in catalysing a vibrant tech start-up ecosystem in South Africa. Things have changed and grown significantly since those early days, and in many ways the original objectives of the Initiative have been surpassed. And yet there is still so much to be done to continue to develop our fledgling industry, which now competes on the world stage with virtually all other countries, for capital, skills and markets. I am very happy however that the torch continues to be carried forward, and that the ecosystem continues to grow and evolve, as it must. To this end, I’m pleased to welcome Vusi Thembekwayo to the movement, who will further add his substantial energy towards fostering our original vision for tech start-ups to find a home, and thrive, in our country.”

Fellow Co-Founder, Vinny Lingham adds, “I’m very proud of the progress that has been made at Silicon Cape over the past decade.  When Justin and I created the vision, we stated that it was a 20-year goal and would require the efforts of everyone on the ground to make it happen. Having shared a stage with Vusi during Dragon’s Den, I can confidently say that he has what it takes to lead the organisation on the next leg of the journey and raise the voice of the ecosystem, which will undoubtedly have long term positive effects for South Africa as a whole.”

“Our ultimate aim, as Silicon Cape, is to be part of creating an Africa that’s technologically advanced, where innovation and technology are ubiquitously accessible, and where innovators have low barriers to entry to build their platforms, broaden economic access, and better the lives of all,” concludes Thembekwayo.

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