Cape Town's ICT industry hard-sells to world markets.

Posted On Monday, 26 May 2003 02:00 Published by
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The Cape-Town based UUNet Bandwidth Barn is positioning itself as an ''export hub'' of IT intellectual capital and services, as it rolls out its strategy to form national and international alliances over the next year.

The Cape-Town based UUNet Bandwidth Barn is positioning itself as an
''export hub'' of IT intellectual capital and services, as it rolls out its
strategy to form national and international alliances over the next year.
At the moment, already 30 percent of tenants within the UUNet Bandwidth Barn
service international clients, by exporting technical and consulting skills,
and also core IT services such as web, software and application development,
and business process outsourcing to capex heavy markets in the UK, Europe
and the US.
The Cape Information Technology Initiative (CITI), a non-profit cluster
development agency which aims to bring jobs and prosperity through IT to the
Western Cape, has this year formed a national alliance with Gauteng's
Innovation Hub and Enterprise Ireland - CITI's equivalent in Ireland.
Figures from Wesgro indicate Western Cape exports to the US alone jumped
from R34.5 million in 2001 to R66.4 million in 2002. This includes
electrical, telecoms, machinery and equipment.
Masedi Molosiwa, the Executive Director of CITI, said the organisation would
continue to forge relevant industry and government partnerships, as part of
a broader effort to position Cape Town, in particular, as a creative ICT hub
for small and medium sized businesses. The UUNet Bandwidth Barn has 17
tenants who are servicing international markets at the moment.
''CITI's strategy is to forge alliances and build partnerships which support
the growth of a small and medium sized ICT hub in the Western Cape, and also
to move beyond provincial borders. This year will see a considerable
international marketing campaign being rolled out,'' Molosiwa said.
The UUNet Bandwidth Barn, in Strand Street, Cape Town, has an occupancy rate
of 70 percent. CITI's commitment is to have full occupancy by the end of
this year, and begin negotiations for more space in 2004.
Imraan Parker, the Managing Director of Application Junction, a UUNet
Bandwidth Barn tenant which builds Internet-enabled software applications to
fulfil client business requirements, said his company had already sourced 50
percent of its outsourcing work from the UK. Work contracted included
Network Rail, which runs over 2 500 railway stations in the UK, and Penton
Media, which runs information technology expos.
''It's tough stealing market share from established, global players.
Investors are sceptical, but increasingly the nonchalance is being turned
into workable opportunities,'' Parker said.
''The benefits of using Cape Town as an export hub are lower costs. Our
clients are saving up to 75 percent of their capital expenditure by
outsourcing to Cape Town, and they also have access to a flexible pool of
qualified skills, Parker said.
Brendan Hughes, a Director of Shoretec International, a UUNet Bandwidth Barn
tenant which helps international companies outsource IT work to South
Africa, said: ''Shoretec is luring application and web development work, and
business process outsourcing to Cape Town. We have a qualified skills base
in the city ready to tackle projects and help position Cape Town as an it
ICT hub.''
Marc Zandhuis, the co-founder of aCROSSOVER, which recently relocated from
the Netherlands to set up shop in the UUNet Bandwidth Barn, said: ''The ICT
industry and increasingly metropolitan environment of Cape Town provides a
perfect environment for foreign creative, IT and media companies to set up
partnerships with South African companies. We are convinced Cape Town will
take ownership of that position in South Africa and will be an African
metropolis in the future.
''SME development is important in South Africa, and has great potential.
With experience in concept development both overseas and South Africa, we
scout opportunities, introduce and assist in the first steps, ensuring
overseas SME companies are successful in setting up partnerships with South
African companies.''
CITI will release the results of a comprehensive census of ICT companies in
the Western Cape in July. The study will enable CITI to get a better
understanding of the nature and technical capabilities of firms, especially
the export orientation and export readiness of firms in the cluster. It is a
direct response to increasing calls from local and international groups for
in-depth and reliable information about the ICT sector in the Western Cape.


Publisher: Cape Business News
Source: Cape Business News

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