I’m honoured to have been asked to MC the Silicon Cape launch next week. When Vinny Lingham asked me to do it a few weeks back, I said yebo gogo without hesitation. It’s a brilliant initiative. And it’s possibly going to be one of the most important and powerful gatherings this country has seen of just over 400 local technology and web workers and entrepreneurs, interested parties and all-round geeks from the Western Cape and elsewhere. The event already appears to be oversubscribed and bursting at the scenes. It’s proved popular.
Further adding weight to the launch will be the attendance of Provincial premier Helen Zille (and another important dignitary yet to be announced).
The idea is to try capture even a fraction of the savvy, concept, excellence and enthusiasm of that well-known Silicon Valley further up North. It’s no secret that Cape Town is one of the most beautiful places to live in the world. Africa’s most visited tourist city is regularly rated around the world as one of the top tourist destinations. As a recent emigre, I have to agree. It’s also no secret either that many online companies and start-ups are based entirely here or partially here (MXIT, Mweb, 24.com, Zoopy, Yola, IOL). Amazon have some presence here too. I’m sure there are other examples.
The concept is the brainchild and being spearheaded by well-known web entrepreneurs Vinny Lingham and Justin Stanford who have spent some time in Silicon Valley. Justin explains the concept further on the official website here. Importantly, they’re not claiming ownership over the concept — they’re pushing the community to run with it.
There are always sceptics. And we acknowledge tough challenges: socio-economic, bandwidth, and funding. But if you’re an optimist like me, you believe these are being tackled, and will be overcome. This initiative galvanises the right ideas, people, passion and energy.
It’s a good place to start. It’s a rallying call for action. And it should be supported.