Sol Plaatje University, together with the Department of Economic Development and Tourism, the Northern Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NOCCI), the Black Management Forum, the Mine Managers Forum, the Renewable Energy Entrepreneurs Forum, Northern Cape Tourism Authority and the Sol Plaatje Municipality have formed the Northern Cape Innovation Forum (NCIF).
This body will work towards addressing the challenges faced by the Northern Cape socio-economic environment and to unleash the innovation potential of the Northern Cape Province.
The Northern Cape is challenged with several barriers to introducing innovation into the local economy: Most notably:
· lack of coordination and mechanisms to develop contextual and relevant policies and interventions, supporting innovation and entrepreneurship;
· unclear roles and engagement with key stakeholders in supporting innovation;
· missing innovation capabilities, especially in terms of infrastructure and skills;
· non-existent integration or innovation ecosystems into key sectors of the economy; and
· the impact of the fast-changing ICT/telecommunication environment, which is ushering in a digital revolution.
The NCIF is a multi-stakeholder and cross-sector body that will create synergies between government, academia, business, and civil society in order to build inclusive approaches for sustainable industrialisation through innovation.
It will place innovation front and centre in the Northern Cape’s social and economic development planning and align with the Provincial Growth and Development Plan so that the Province is able to effectively address the triple threat of poverty, inequality and unemployment.
It seeks to have an impact on the following main areas:
1. Economic transformation, growth and development
2. Social transformation and human welfare
3. Environmental stability and resilience
4. Effective, efficient and accountable governance.
The inaugural meeting of the NCIF will be held at Sol Plaatje University on Friday, 6 September 2019.
The University has agreed to act as the agency that will support the establishment, maintenance, growth and development of the NCIF, with resource support from the Department of Science and Innovation and the Department of Economic Development and Tourism.