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Programme launched to grow tech ecosystem in Western Cape –

The Western Cape Government’ has launched the region’s first programme dedicated to strengthening the local tech startup ecosystem….

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The Western Cape Government’s Digital Economy Unit within the Department of Economic Development and Tourism has launched the region’s first programme dedicated to strengthening the local tech startup ecosystem.

The launch of the programme further affirms the Western Cape as Africa’s tech hub

Titled the DashTech programme, it aims to support the region’s tech ecosystem by optimising growth for local tech startups and enabling job creation in the digital economy of the Western Cape.

David Maynier, Western Cape Government’s Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities sheds light on the launch of the new programme and its overall aims.

“To further strengthen our position as Africa’s tech capital, Digital Economy Unit in the Department of Economic Development, have launched the first DashTech programme to build on the local startup culture, to support the tech ecosystem and create an enabling environment for future growth and job creation in the digital economy in the Western Cape.”

The DashTech programme

The programme kicked off its first session of events in November, coinciding with ‘tech month’ in the region. The programme held events that facilitate a platform where startups could connect with potential investors, generate innovative ideas, collaborate with other businesses, enter new markets, improve local product development, and more.

With an innovative approach, the DashTech programme aims to fill existing gaps within the funding scene along with available accelerators and incubators.

The Dash-Tech programme held in November 2020 covered the following areas of the tech ecosystem:

  • ScreenTech: This refers to technologies that operate using any form of a digital screen. ScreenTech is used to connect people to film, multimedia, gaming, animation, mobile, etc.
  • SafetyTech: This relates to safety and security-related technologies that encourage safe and cohesive communities.
  • Fintech: This refers to financial technology which includes mobile payments, and e-wallets, to improve and automate financial service delivery.
  • TownshipTech: This is an adaptation of the ‘Smart Cities’ concept which builds innovative tech solutions geared towards local township communities specified to their conditions.
  • 4IRTech: The Fourth Industrial Revolution that is tech-based includes Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Blockchain, additive manufacturing, the Internet of Things, and other emerging technologies.
  • Following the launch of the Western Cape’s tech ecosystem initiative, the Dash-Tech programme is an extension of the region’s intentions to establish itself as the continent’s tech hub. (see this story)

    The programme’s overall objective is to create the best environment for companies to come together and drive business growth which will contribute to the economy in the Western Cape.

    According to a statement by the Western Cape Government, the region is home to ‘many tech and digital businesses’ that are primarily based in Cape Town and Stellenbosch.

    Various companies include Silicon Cape Initiative, Loudhailer, IEASA Interactive Entertainment South Africa), CiTi (Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative) and KPMG will function as hosts for DashTech programme events.

    The programmes overall objective is to create the best environment for companies to come together and drive business growth which will contribute to the economy in the Western Cape.

    Read more: Western Cape launches tech ecosystem initiative
    Read more: Google invests R2.2-billion into Western Cape

    Featured image: Finding Dan | Dan Grinwis via Unsplash

    “To further strengthen our position as Africa’s tech capital, Digital Economy Unit in the Department of Economic Development, have launched the first DashTech programme to build on the local startup culture, to support the tech ecosystem and create an enabling environment for future growth and job creation in the digital economy in the Western Cape.”

    Source: https://ventureburn.com/2020/12/programme-launched-to-grow-tech-ecosystem-in-western-cape/

    programme-launched-to-grow-tech-ecosystem-in-western-cape--

    Ventureburn

    ZwartTech launches Talent Foundation to equip Africans with digital skills

    Lagos-based ZwartTech has announced the launch of its new edtech, Zwart Talent Foundation (ZTF) in a statement on 30 July 2021.

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    Lagos-based ZwartTech has announced the launch of its new edtech, Zwart Talent Foundation (ZTF) in a statement today.

    The foundation aims to equip young Africans with ICT skills necessary to close the growing African skills gap. The project has also set aside 70% of recruitment positions for African women.

    87% of African CEOs are concerned about the digital skills gap

    According to a report by PwC, featured in 2020’s Digital Skills Insights publication, 79% of global CEOs are worried about the availability of digital skills in their workforces, with 87% of African CEOs sharing the same concern.

    “We launched the Zwart Talent Foundation to help Africans quickly combat poverty by giving them the chance to acquire tech skills as well as connecting them to international job opportunities. This will enable them to earn more and boost their economic status,” commented Nelson Tosin Ajulo, Chairman of ZTF in a statement.

    ZTF’s three-pronged approach to tackling this skills gap means participants are led through the process from initial skills training to launching successful, sustainable careers.

    The foundation aims to equip 2 000 Africans with critical ICT skills and recruit them into global companies over the next five years.

    The Zwart Academy

    Participants are first trained through the Zwart Academy in cybersecurity and Javascript for six months at no cost, giving them the necessary foundation to complete a one-year internship with Zwart Tech on completion.

    “We have also realised that the quality of ICT education in Africa is inadequate. Considering this, students who join the Foundation will become Junior Developers in less than three years compared to attending a university and spending four or five years on the same course,” stated Ajulo.

    Zwart Recruit

    Zwart Recruit aims to support African ICT developers by connecting them with international companies looking for employees specialising in digital skills.

    The Zwart Hub

    The Hub is an accelerator programme that takes startups from concept to scaling their business on a global scale through mentorship and support from successful, experienced startup owners and investors.

    While the global skills gap is worrying, considering automation may render many digital jobs obsolete in the near future, ZTF’s approach is different, according to Ajulo.

    “Our approach is not only innovative, but it also saves time and will help tackle inequality faster, bridging gaps between social classes. The Academy training program involves a lot of practicals and it is free,” she concluded.

    Read more: Edtech Go1 is SA’s first unicorn after closing $200m round

    Read more: Transforming B2B payments could grow Africa’s local businesses [Opinion]

    Featured image: Zwart Talent Foundation Chairman, Nelson Tosin Ajulo (Supplied)

    “We launched the Zwart Talent Foundation to help Africans quickly combat poverty by giving them the chance to acquire tech skills as well as connecting them to international job opportunities. This will enable them to earn more and boost their economic status,” commented Nelson Tosin Ajulo, Chairman of ZTF in a statement.

    Source: https://ventureburn.com/2021/07/zwarttech-launches-talent-foundation-to-equip-africans-with-digital-skills/

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    Bioengineer

    Reduced microbial stability linked to soil carbon loss in active layer under alpine permafrost degra

    Credit: NIEER Chinese researchers have recently discovered links between reduction in microbial stability and soil carbon loss in the active

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    Chinese researchers have recently discovered links between reduction in microbial stability and soil carbon loss in the active layer of degraded alpine permafrost on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau (QTP).

    The researchers, headed by Prof. CHEN Shengyun from the Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources (NIEER) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), and XUE Kai from University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, conducted a combined in-depth analysis of soil microbial communities and their co-occurrence networks in the active permafrost layer along an extensive gradient of permafrost degradation.

    The QTP encompasses the largest extent of high-altitude mountain permafrost in the world. This permafrost is different than high-latitude permafrost and stores massive soil carbon. An often ignored characteristic of permafrost is that the carbon pool in the active layer soil is more active and directly affected by climate change, compared to deeper layers.

    Triggered by climate warming, permafrost degradation may decrease soil carbon stability and induce massive carbon loss, thus leading to positive carbon-climate feedback. However, microbial-mediated mechanisms for carbon loss from the active layer soil in degraded permafrost still remain unclear.

    In this study, the researchers found that alpine permafrost degradation reduced the stability of active layer microbial communities as evidenced by increased sensitivity of microbial composition to environmental change, promoted destabilizing network properties and reduced resistance to node or edge attacking of the microbial network.

    They discovered that soil organic carbon loss in severely degraded permafrost is associated with increased microbial dissimilarity, thereby potentially contributing to a positive carbon feedback in alpine permafrost on the QTP.

    ###

    The results were published in PNAS in an article entitled “Reduced microbial stability in the active layer is associated with carbon loss under alpine permafrost degradation”.

    This research was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, the Strategic Priority Research Program (A) of CAS and the Second Tibetan Plateau Scientific Expedition and Research Program.

    Triggered by climate warming, permafrost degradation may decrease soil carbon stability and induce massive carbon loss, thus leading to positive carbon-climate feedback. However, microbial-mediated mechanisms for carbon loss from the active layer soil in degraded permafrost still remain unclear.

    Source: https://bioengineer.org/reduced-microbial-stability-linked-to-soil-carbon-loss-in-active-layer-under-alpine-permafrost-degra/

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